Summertime Just-for-Fun: Top 5 Things I Want To See In Season 5

Following Thinkling’s lead in providing some just-for-fun distractions to go along with all the re-watches, we thought it might be fun to look ahead rather than back.  Rather than go into a full-blown speculation post (which is probably on its way anyway) we thought we’d try a quick wish-list to start the discussion.  Join us as we make our lists and check them twice, then pick your favorites, or add your own in comments.  After the jump.

Ernie’s Wish List

I want a pony, and a GI Joe Range Rover and a Chuck Season 4 DVD… Oh, wait, wrong list.  So for season 5 I really am a simple creature.  I want peace in the fandom and goodwill toward Morgan.  Lacking that, I’ll settle for being entertained and some skimpy Sarah costumes.  I doubt that’ll be an issue though, so for my top 5 I’ll get a bit more specific.

5 )  A musical montage.  A good one, like the old days, as established in Tango and nearly perfected in First Date, Tom Sawyer and Ring.

4 )  The Weinerliscious outfit (or Nerdherder) makes a return.  It’s nice to see Sarah taking care of her man, even if it means re-enacting some of his pre-couple Sarah fantasies.  Sarah in a skimpy outfit is just a bonus, and those who want some Walkertowski heat should also be behind this one.  So I say supply closet, Weinerliscious outfit and our favorite couple re-enacting the opening of Truth, for realz this time.  Getting busted by Casey in Scooter’s place would also be hilarious.

3 )  The Morgansect gets Fitzroyed.  Not that I have anything against the Walkertowski’s bearded stepchild, but he’s had it coming since Barstow, and Sarah can’t help it if the Morgansect goes for the kung-fu and she reacts reflexively…can she?

2 )  Ellie going all mother hen patching up team B.  It could be funny, or touching, or dramatic, or all of the above, but I think a great way to work the Awsome’s into the spy world of rogue Team B is to start as their personal physicians.  Great opportunity for a good brother-sister talk or sister-sister-in-law talk about anything from their future to Sarah’s past too.

1 )  A Sarah pregnancy freakout.  Sarah is never quite as funny as when her control starts to slip and she starts to freakout.  This one would be classic, and Yvonne would likely knock it out of the park.

Joe’s Wish List

Hum… This is a surprise. As much as I’d like it, seeing Sarah in a bikini one more time did not make the top five on my wish list for Season 5. What’s wrong with me???

Oh well. Here it is, with the briefest of explanations!

5 ) I want Morgan to realize that the exciting spy-existence of “The One and Only Human Intersect” is not for him and that he’d rather settle down with Alex. I want him to realize this after he and Chuck figure out how to make it impossible for the CIA or anyone else to make another human intersect.

4 ) I want to see a great resolution to the story behind Sarah’s missing mother. And while we’re at it, can we finally know if she really has a sister or not, oh mighty Powers That Be? Thanks!

3 ) I want to see Casey and Kathleen getting married in a double ring ceremony with Morgan and Alex. I’m such a sucker for a good wedding!

2 ) I want to see Stephen return and rejoin his family. Yeah, I know that because of Scott Bakula’s obligations that’s probably not possible. But with Linda Hamilton and just a little creative camera work, who knows?

1 ) I want to see Sarah deliriously happy to tell Chuck she’s expecting. I don’t think that precludes Ernie’s wished-for freak-out; it’s just the way I want it to end! 😉

Dave’s List

I like all of what Ernie and Joe said before me.  So this list may not seem too original, but my top 5 picks, in no particular order are:

5)  Family time.  I still remember listing this as my number one wish on the eve of S3.  Is anyone surprised I was bitterly disappointed?  Anyway,  I love the gatherings of friends and family that so often make up a big part of “Chuck.”  This crew manages to be endearing and funny, and I love watching them play off of each other.

4) Good stunt-work with explosions.  This is an important part of any quality entertainment.  The stunt and effects teams have been a wonderful part of the “Chuck” experience.  I hope for some more memorable moments as we close out the show.

3) Lot’s of laugh-out-loud moments.  My first memories of “Chuck” involve laughing.  I hope my last will be just as good.  We often complain here about the over-use of Jeffster, but to be fair, when they are funny they are very funny.  Likewise, Morgan, used in moderation, is a great source of humor.  And of course, when Sarah is actually funny she steals the show.  I especially hope for more of that last in the season ahead.

2) Real heroics.  This may or may not be related to the stunt and effects work mentioned above.  I love a good fight scene, but I also love Chuck outsmarting a baddie or any of our heroes taking a difficult stand just as much.

1) Charah.  Need I say more?!

Thinkling’s Wish List

The great disadvantage of inputting my wishes after my fellow bloggers is that I now have more wishes to wish for that I didn’t know I wished for before.

Ernie, peace in the fandom and goodwill toward Morgan? You sound like a beauty pageant contestant. I like your 1 & 2. I think #1 is a pretty sure bet, #2 — even odds.

Joe, love your 1 & 4. I think your chances are good on both.

Dave, I could just ditto your list … but where’s the fun in that?

My List, not in any order:

5) Family, being a major Chuck theme, should be a major theme of the final season. Chuck and Sarah starting a family should surface occasionally, though I don’t think it should dominate the way the proposal and engagement did. An early pregnancy scare, a few scenes of Sarah watching or interacting with kids or babies, then pregnancy happiness. An 8-months-later epilogue of the birth. Don’t need to see the whole pregnancy, like Ellie’s.

4) Chuck and Sarah (how many times have I said this?) committed, happy, passionate (please), power spy-couple. The spy couple of Couch Lock and FBoE, the funny couple of A-Team, and more sweet scenes at the end that Chuck does better than any show. Chuck and Sarah complete each other and bring out the best in each other. (Like Morgan once said Chuck is with Sarah … the Chuck we always dreamed of — the Chuck that has the potential to do anything in the world. And Sarah said in her vows … You make me the best person I could ever hope to be.) I’d like to see the security of marriage galvanize that in both of them, individually and as a couple.

3) Bartowski women scenes! I love the dynamic of the Bartowski women in any combination.

2) Sarah. Give Yvonne her full range. Funny Sarah. Lioness Sarah. Happy Sarah. And all the dramatic moments and nuances she does better than anybody.

1) Chuck. Team leader. Decent enough fighting skill to hold his own if he has to. Creative, brilliant, determined. The hero he was in Push Mix and Cliffhanger.

Faith’s Wish List

I take my wish lists for Chuck very seriously. I mean very. If you don’t believe me, read this. With that in mind, I’ve yet to really thoroughly write down my wishes for season 5. I think I’m held back by the fact that it’s Chuck’s last season and more than anything I just want to savor. Not expect, or look forward to anything, but rather just take every moment, every scene as it happens and savor it. But of course I’m likely going to still write my thorough and itemized wish list sometime in the future. For now it’s as follows:

5. Michael Ironside. I recently saw Riley (Ray Wise) in a film with Michael Ironside and I’m thinking of all these great role guys that have been on Chuck. Impressive if you consider how in demand these guys are and yet they somehow get on Chuck!

4. Casey to have a girl. I don’t really want it to be Alex’s mom, though that would be tidy but rather someone more sexy and vamp-y. Ilsa being back would be nice.

3. Ellie, Sarah, Mary. That is all. Well specifically, I want more screen time and story lines for these three. They have just made this season more than I expected and left me wanting more. Sarah has had to do less emoting via facial expressions because she’s been in a good place and yet I find that I miss it. I wouldn’t want her to be in a bad place per say but I would love to see YS’ range again.

2. Sarah’s mom. At this point, I’m not even hoping for specific actors to play her, I just want her on Chuck. Period. Although if Lynda Carter wants to get on Chuck, I wouldn’t turn her down. Yes I know she’s not blond but who cares she’s Lynda Carter! Lynda Carter is WIN.

1. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Chuck and Sarah, not to mention certain factions of the fandom would call for my shipper crown 😉 but more I just want to see them after the marriage. Not necessarily happy, that’s not realistic but in love and epic. Passion would be nice.

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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.
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277 Responses to Summertime Just-for-Fun: Top 5 Things I Want To See In Season 5

  1. Verkan_Vall says:

    @Ernie
    @Joe
    @Dave
    @Thinkling
    @Faith

    Agreed.

    Except for Morgan, of course. The less Morgan, the better, unless they’re finally going to put the epic Morgan-Alex-Diane triangle on the screen where it belongs.

    What the HECK am I saying???? Oh, right. My margerita formula was off.

    Carry on.

    V_V

  2. kristine c. says:

    haha! can’t agree more with you guys/girls!

    I’d certainly love to see a Sarah pregnancy freakout. Just got to bring that up again. Agent Walker having morning sickness. AWESOME. 😀

    ditto about Sarah’s past. who are you mom?

    Ellie as spy? I think she will definitely make a great spy! She’s very intelligent and very perceptive. Not to mention she’s a Bartowski. It’s in the blood.

    Musical episode? Zachary Levi can sing! Like really really sing! I hope we’d get to see him singing in the show. Even just for serenading Sarah? Awww. That’s so romantic!

    And of course lotsa and lotsa Charah/Walkertowski/ or now Mr. and Mrs. Bartowski moments.^^

    • kristine c. says:

      I’m not counting Chuck humming the Imperial March as a way of showcasing Zach’s pipes. 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        I don’t really count that either. The last person I wanted Chuck to sing to was Morgan. Well, maybe not the last, but you know what I mean.

  3. Rev says:

    Morgan breaking his leg in the first episode, or losing the intersect. Really don’t fancy the idea of Morgan taking up too much air time in the precious last season. So just break his leg, and have him bound to his bed, then only use him to flash on some info, and you’re done.

    I wouldn’t like a whole musical episode, but if they say incorporate Zach’s singing into the show, like him singing a lullaby to Clara, or Sarah, or maybe a little baby Bartowski(but only in an epilogue episode) then I’m all for it.

    An epilogue episode. Just do 12episodes of spy stuff, and then one full blown fluff episode to see us off, now that would be sweet.

    Bring back Hartley, Dalton is such a great actor, his greatness only rivaled by Yvonne on the show.

    Bring back Mr Colt, as great as Volkoff was, Mr Colt, is still my favourite villain.

    Don’t force feed us Jeff and Lesster for the sake of having them in the episode. Seriously 99% of the time they’re not funny, and thus not needed. Rather have us enjoy some Charah time, or some Captain Awesome. You can never have enough of that guy.

    Perhaps get Awesome in on some missions, still one of the few aspects of the beginning of season 3 that I did like.

    Could think of more, but I already over shot the five, so there you go, my wish list.

    • atcDave says:

      Great thought about the epilogue Rev. I have a feeling it will never happen, but I would love it if they would just spend the entire final episode celebrating the various characters and relationships without any particular tension. I think all of us would enjoy that enormously. (I’m also 90% sure they would never do it…)

      • Rev says:

        Can’t see it happening either, I’d be surprised if we get more than a minute, but man it would be sweet if it did happen. Ah well, at least we have fanfiction for some nice fluff, so at least there is that.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah and fan fiction writers often include an entire epilogue chapter (or more!) that is often satisfying to read after a tense story.

        But television just doesn’t seem to be made that way, I can’t really think of any series that devoted more than a few minutes at the end as “payoff”. Television writers must be taught that an epilogue is a “waste” of screen time or some such non-sense. Too bad.

        Don’t get me wrong, all of S4 was a pay-off story in a way; but I would have enjoyed more time spent on the actual wedding.

      • thinkling says:

        Well, I didn’t include my true #1 wish for season 5. That would be a season 6 (or 5.5), which would be an epilog to 5. The Bartowski power/spy couple 6 or seven years down the road with a kid (or two — twins), still free-lance “consultants” doing off-the-books jobs for the President and the free world. That’ll never happen either, but a girl can dream, n’est-ce pas?

      • I’d like an epilogue, too. I doubt it will happen because Chuck has always gone big in finales while epilogues are normally more low-key.

        A show with good epilogue(s): Babylon 5. The entire last episode of the fifth and final season is 20 years in the future. It was originally going to be the end of the fourth season. When TNT picked it up for a surprise fifth season, the new fourth season final replacement included snapshots set 100, 500, 1000, and 1 million years in the future. Admittedly, that show is a little unusual, because the executive producer constructed the entire timeline before the show started and wrote most of the episodes. The show had an epilogue because he wanted it.

      • thinkling says:

        Love your handle, Jeff. lol

        If TPTB want and epilog, they certainly have time to plan for it. They’ve talked about what a gift it is to write the last season and finish the series the way they want. The last episode as both epilog and prolog (to a reunion episode or a spin off, OK now I’m dreaming again) would be great. But, like the rest of you, I doubt it will happen. But what fun it could be.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I remember Babylon5, but I believe the extended epilogue was sort of accidental. The show was constructed around a 5 season story, but was “cancelled” late in S4 so a conclusion was rushed. Which meant when it was unexpectedly renewed almost all of S5 playing like an epilogue!
        But you’re right, it did have a proper, honest to goodness epilogue for its final episode. Which I really appreciated and I wish would happen more often.

        Of course, I’m really with Thinkling on this; not only is a S6 my real most wanted thing from S5, but I’d be good with 6 or 7 more seasons of epilogue. Let’s do it like Lord of Rings; make the supplemental material longer than the core story!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m not worried about a full-blown epilogue, I’m more interested in a Push Mix type ending or a Cliffhanger minus anything beyond the limo ride to the airport. It is essentially an epilogue to their spy careers and serves as prologue to the rest of their lives. I think Schwedak has shown that this is their preferred ending and that they can do it well. The end of Other Guy would have been almost as good as Push Mix had people not already decided they needed a lot more payoff than 2 minutes in a hotel room in return for the S#@w arc. That said I wouldn’t object to some flash-forward scenes at the end of the show.

        As for Thinkling & Dave’s wish for a few more episodes, I do sympathize, mostly because I wanted to see them make 100 episodes and in a 22 episode season we get episodes like Seduction Impossible and Wedding Planner and (yes, I’m going there) Muuurder, which while not exactly fluff are pretty fluffy. I still hope for a few more episodes getting picked up that they could treat like an epilogue or a spy-team re-union a few years in the future (so they wouldn’t have to re-write the original 13 mid-way through production AGAIN). Unfortunately I think we’re probably only getting those 13. Still, with the players suit against the owners in the Football lockout now in the hands of the courts and no deal, one never knows.

      • atcDave says:

        Well you know Ernie I’m definitely with those who feel Other Guy would have been an inadequate ending; I’m really thankful that didn’t happen! But I do think the very abrupt sort ending you mention is likely exactly what will happen. That seems to be the Schwedak style. I think it’s not as big a deal with Chuck as it is with many other shows I’ve seen, because they usually give us so many “day in the life” snapshot scenes as the series unfolds. So it’s really not that hard for us to imagine what ordinary life will look like, we’ve seen it in bits and pieces already. But given that is one of my favorite things about this show, I’m always wanting more of it. And of course I’d like a little look ahead at kids and career for our favorite (ex-?) spies.

        I’m not quite thrilled at the looming prospect of no NFL football this fall, but if that does lead to some bonus episodes of Chuck I’ll accept that as a happy consolation prize.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        For the record I agree that 2 minutes in the hotel didn’t cut it after how much they asked us to invest in Charah in the first two seasons and how painful they made the resolution in the third. Absent that however, I thought Other Guy was a damn fine episode and minus the pain preceding it the final scene was excellent for a series end. The mess that was created in the other episodes (most notably American Hero IMHO) was more than you can expect one finale to clean up, so I try to judge Other Guy on its own merits.

        As for Football… A single season without my Steelers in return for 9 more episodes of Chuck? It’s tempting…

      • thinkling says:

        Herder, I love your list. TeamB/Kindergarden Cop … hilarious all around. Solving the Stephen mysteries and Omaha … I sure hope that’s in the spy/mythology mix.

        I only quibble with your Morgan theory. You expressed precisely why I worry about Morgansect. I’m afraid it’s a new reason to join Morgan and Chuck at the hip. The last thing I want is for Chuck to have to be with Morgan all the time. Shudder. (I am an anti-fan of the bromance!) I’m hoping that Morgan duty will still go mostly to Casey. They are such a fine odd-couple. Morgan has his place on the team. For me they found it when he moved out of casa Bartowski. I don’t mind if he’s a spy and goes on missions, just please! not glued to Chuck. That said I hope we get the original trio from time to time. I love it when the original 3-man TeamB goes on missions together. And I love it when just Chuck and Sarah go on a mission together. I don’t mind it (OK, maybe I even like it) if Morgan is along on the mission periodically. Now if they throw MamaB into the mix (and Ellie and Awesome) on occasion, that will be fun, too.

      • atcDave says:

        I share the temptation Ernie (well, not Steelers but you get my point…) could be quite the Faustian bargain. If I could trade one season of Bears football for nine more episodes of Chuck? I hate to think of how weak my character and false my heart really is!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        My favorite proposed Morgansect malfunction? In his first fight, every kick and punch falls short. You see, the intersect assumed he’d be taller…

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with most of that Thinkling. Too much Morgan is my biggest fear for S5. I like the idea of an expanded teamB on occasion; not just Mary and the Woodcombs, but add Zondra, Carina, maybe even Alex a time or two. But the nucleus is Chuck and Sarah; then Casey. I hope we get to see the core team in action more than once.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie you know that is an excellent fan fiction! “Chuck vs. all of the Intersects” by MyNameIsJeffNImLost (yes he posted just above in this thread!) has exactly that scenario. Of course everyone gets an Intersect in that story with a whole variety of different malfunctions. That story is on my favorites list, under the fan fiction header at right.

    • herder says:

      Strangely enough I’m not at all worried about Morgan and the intersect, I guess that we will see some sort of arrangement where Morgan can only properly use it when Chuck is there to direct him or counsel him. As to shows that did the epilogue thing right, the ending of Scrubs with the visions of what will come is the best that I can think of, of course they then ruined it with another season with a mostly new cast.

      Of the things I would like to see:

      1- Some sort of return to things that were dropped like Project Omaha and RIOS.

      2- Sarah’s family.

      3- What was it that Stephen was afraid that the government would do with the intersect that made him become Orion.

      4- A kindergarden cop episode with all characters interacting with children, especially Chuck, Sarah and Casey.

      5- A real pregnancy/family discussion between Chuck and Sarah, actual pregnancy need not be involved.

      Of course this does not mean that I am opposed to any of the ideas indicated above, all are interesting, especially Ernie’s montage idea, my personal favorites are the Talking Head’s Once in a Lifetime from Suburbs and The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love from the Ring.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Herder I had forgotten about the great Suburbs scenes. While I think they stretch the definition of “montage” since they are one scene, not intercut scenes, I agree that in spirit they have the same purpose, kind of like Africa in Best Friend, the music serves as exposition.

        For some reason after Suburbs I always had a Talking Heads song in mind for the finale where perhaps the parting shot is closing the door on a house in the suburbs, but with our favorite couple on the inside now. I looked up the lyrics, and while doing so saw this quote from David Byrne about his song “This Must Be the Place” ( Also known as Naive Melody)

        “That’s a love song made up almost completely of non sequiturs, phrases that may have a strong emotional resonance but don’t have any narrative qualities. It’s a real honest kind of love song. I don’t think I’ve ever done a real love song before. Mine always had a sort of reservation, or a twist. I tried to write one that wasn’t corny, that didn’t sound stupid or lame the way many do. I think I succeeded; I was pretty happy with that.”

        This is something that has been rolling around in my head about Chuck for well over a year, and I’m still working out how to explain it. Story versus plot or thinking of Chuck like an impressionist painting are about as close as I’ve come. It’s a work in progress. Anyway, I thought that perfect for Chuck, since, as some will say, and I’ll agree, Chuck has always been a bit light and loose with the plot, or the narrative if you will, going instead for the emotional resonance with the characters and through things like the music setting the mood for the next scene or a montage creating the feelings of drama and tension. That and I’ve always loved Chuck’s non-sequiturs. Anyway, for those interested, here are the lyrics.

        Home is where I want to be
        Pick me up and turn me round
        I feel numb – born with a weak heart
        (So I) guess I must be having fun
        The less we say about it the better
        Make it up as we go along
        Feet on the ground
        Head in the sky
        It’s ok I know nothing’s wrong . . nothing

        Hi yo I got plenty of time
        Hi yo you got light in your eyes
        And you’re standing here beside me
        I love the passing of time
        Never for money
        Always for love
        Cover up say goodnight . . . say goodnight

        Home – is where I want to be
        But I guess I’m already there
        I come home she lifted up her wings
        Guess that this must be the place
        I can’t tell one from the other
        Did I find you, or you find me?
        There was a time Before we were born
        If someone asks, this where I’ll be . . . where I’ll be

        Hi yo We drift in and out
        Hi yo sing into my mouth
        Out of all those kinds of people
        You got a face with a view
        I’m just an animal looking for a home
        Share the same space for a minute or two
        And you love me till my heart stops
        Love me till I’m dead
        Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
        Cover up the blank spots
        Hit me on the head
        Ah ooh

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I meant to add (before I got carried away) that I like your list. I think there would be a wonderful symmetry and theme of redemption in Sarah’s story if the series were to end having explained her situation with her mother (though not necessarily going for reconciliation) to the point that her having a daughter in a happy stable family would be seen as the completion of her journey. With that overall theme I see them incorporating a lot of what we all want. Start with a pregnancy scare that moves into an initial discussion of why Sarah freaked out, setting up her mother backstory. While that is going on, yes, definitely highlight Sarah (and Chuck) both freaked out by, and longing for children. Neither Chuck nor Sarah has held baby Clara yet… Bring the mother situation to some sort of closure, be it acceptance on Sarah’s part or reconciliation. (Which I’d prefer they didn’t do. Someone should have some hurt in their past that isn’t one big misunderstanding or a sense of duty and Sarah seems the chosen candidate for that troubled past.) Once that is over they can move on to a real discussion of starting a family, which leads to beating the last big bad in the final episode (and of course almost losing everything on the threshold of having all their dreams come true) and the final scenes where Sarah reveals to Chuck she is pregnant, either in present time or in a flash-forward. Actual pregnancy and baby aren’t necessary if you ask me.

        This can be played in parallel with Chuck and Team B unraveling the conspiracy that explains it all, and thus defeating the big bad and freeing himself and his family from the grand conspiracy that project Omaha and RIOS were both a part of.

  4. jason says:

    1 – I’d like to see the story be epically clever, such that shippers would hail the awesome use of the hart to hart theme, an in love in trust couple while simultaneously satisfying the syfy / mystery / drama fans with how well conceived the spy plot was.

    2 – I’d like to see sarah lancaster / alan baldwin be given a good / meaningful roles this season

    3 – I’d like to see part of the spy story involve jeff and lester in some way that fans nod in approval, appreciate & make what we had to put up with for 5 seasons worth it, heck put morgan in that category too

    4 – I’d like to see no LI’s / PLI’s come back from past seasons, and nobody come back from the dead, TPTB played all the come back from dead & PLI cards in the deck

    5 – I’d like to see sarah bartkowski do lots of comedy, and chuck be allowed to be a grown up this season, I’d prefer no intersect, if he entertains wanting to reintersect, he now has sarah to say “and why would we want to do that” – in other words, he / they do not need the intersect to be a super spy couple, intersectless chuck and his kick a$$ blond partner are that good

    • Faith says:

      Well there goes my dream of having either/or both Jill and Bryce back! 😀

      • atcDave says:

        Hey I’d like to see Jill and/or Cole return! But no zombie Bryce.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well I guess goodwill toward Morgan was asking too much. 😉 Still I agree with Faith and Dave, the return of Jill offers so many Sarah possibilities it is mind boggling. Think Heather Chandler squared with a double helping of jealousy and Chuck betrayal.

        Even though they’ve hit on it tangentially in First Kill and with Cubic Z I still like the idea of a Team B visit to Club Carmichael, the secret facility where everyone Team B has ever busted is housed. Fitzroy could even accompany them for some reason, gushing over Chuck’s exploits and staying just out of reach of Sarah.

      • thinkling says:

        If Jill came back, I would want the jealousy to be all Jill’s, no jealousy on Sarah’s part, nary a second glance on Chuck’s part, and not even a whiff of betrayal. Talk about regressing Chuck. Otherwise what was Phase 3 for and Cliffhanger? In only 13 short episodes, I really hope they don’t visit all the standard marriage-tripe, like: the passion is gone, and jealousy over former flames (or jealousy over anyone for that matter).

        Faith, you said you want to see Chuck and Sarah after the marriage, in love and epic (and that passion would be nice). Me too. It was on my list as well. I differ on the point of happiness, though. You said not necessarily happy, that’s not realistic. I’m not sure what you mean by happy, so maybe I just didn’t track with your train of thought. But at face value, it strikes me as sad and altogether inaccurate to say that expecting happiness in marriage is unrealistic. (As a 34-yr veteran of the institution, I defend it staunchly and unapologetically. Of course it’s realistic to have happy marriages and families!)

        I would classify S4 Chuck and Sarah as happy. Of course, they had some challenges and disagreements, as all couples do, but as I look back at S4 I would say Chuck and Sarah have a happy relationship. (Surely it takes more than some challenges and disagreements to suck the happiness out of life and relationships.) I would expect the S4 trend to continue in their marriage. More to the point, I would expect their happiness and love to grow. Given the love and relationship TPTB have gone to extreme lengths to establish and portray, I expect all the good things we’ve seen in their relationship since Honeymooners to be stronger and deeper as their marriage grows. All of that can be portrayed in the face of danger and challenge, humor and family, passion and tenderness. It doesn’t have to be sappy to be happy.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        OK Thinkling, perhaps jealousy overstates, but then Sarah can be jealous irrationally can’t she? That kind of jealousy, or perhaps possessiveness in front of Jill, seems a decent fit to the character, jealously guarding what she’s gained even while not really afraid she could lose it. More to the point when we last saw Jill, Chuck still cared enough to not want to toss her back into prison after she sort of redeemed herself in his eyes. Just that could be enough to make Sarah wary that Jill is another of Chuck’s blind spots. In addition I think it’s clear in First Kill that Sarah harbors a deep and abiding desire to really REALLY hurt Jill given the slightest excuse. I think the situation could be epically funny. But I agree, no serious thought or action that even hints at betrayal on Chuck’s part.

      • atcDave says:

        Awesome comment Thinkling, I’d ditto all of that. Generally, happy people have happy marriages. There can be no doubt Chuck is basically a happy person, and Sarah has very much become one. At this point, I’d say showing their marriage as happy is the more realistic choice. Obviously threats and challenges are a burden for anyone, but I hope and expect the central relationship to flourish and grow; and yes, to be happy.

      • thinkling says:

        @Ernie,
        I suppose in First Kill, Chuck left the issue on the table. Of course there’s been a lot of water over the dam since then. I concede that Sarah could perceive Jill as a possible blind spot (though not a real threat to herself), so jealously guarding what she’s gained even while not really afraid she could lose it could be valid … and funny, if done right.

      • jason says:

        I hate admitting this, but I have to come clean – I cannot imagine how s4 did not have a cole (or cole facsimile) episode – where sarah is placed in circumstances where she is on a mission with a hot male partner for a half an episode or so, who makes advances on her, and how both she and chuck handle it. If I were a writer, given how the 3rd season went – I would want to write a great episode on that topic, to put to bed any notion that sarah is the office you know what – my title may even be chuck vs the PLI or chuck vs TPTB – I might even slip a little retcon about season 3 in there at the same time, heck half the fandom wants to bring back papa b or byrce from the dead – how can that be OK but a little hint of the lack (or even lacking) of shaw sarah love making retcon not be?

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I like all of that. It wouldn’t really be THAT much of a retcon for Sarah to deny ever being with Shaw anyway; in spite of what was implied, all we really know is she spent too much time with him. Too say nothing ever happened would sooth the last of the S3 burn. Of course, the fact nothing has been denied so far suggests TPTB have no intention of ever doing so; but logically it presents no problems.
        And I do like the idea of Chuck and/or Sarah having to deal with would be rivals, but mainly as a device to show how solid they are together. That would actually be quite satisfying.

      • Faith says:

        Thinkling, obviously not being married, or ever for that matter you’d know more than me but in terms of what I meant, I would classify it as more realistic than leave it to Beaver-esque. In television it’s very rare to find that balance when they do go for the happily ever after. There are those that portray the couples as infallible and others that portray them as full of flaws so for me, I’d like it if Chuck found that balance. Think of it this way, there are times when you really love this person but they do something that just grinds your gears but through it all, at the core you still love that person and that will (hopefully) never change. Times when that love is what keeps you together when in any other situation you wouldn’t and couldn’t make it work. Basically, I want them to be happy and in love, but not without occasional conflict–that would be unrealistic. In terms of what kind of conflict I’m talking about, something that is not “he left his socks near the foot of the bed” sort of thing, or that “he’s got his game night, again” sort of thing but something that maybe is more weighing. A difference in philosophies or values could work well when done correctly.

        Fighting over letting Jill go would actually work for me. Not for everyone but in doing so Chuck put himself in danger and that is definitely one of Sarah’s hot buttons.

        As for why I would like to see either Jill or Bryce (or both) back it’s because these two have grown so much and have become so much more as individuals and as a couple than what either (Jill nor Bryce) have ever seen or is capable of themselves. I think it would be a good turn to see them back and tease or appreciate the people Chuck and Sarah have become. In season 1 Bryce did the unthinkable and pointed out that he thought Chuck at that point in his life would be more than the Buy More. To quote, “what happened.” Although he redeemed himself by pointing out that although Chuck isn’t rich in physical ways, he’s rich in relationships…I still want him to see Chuck the way he was always supposed to be. And I want him to acknowledge that this Sarah is different, better, as this Sarah and yet haven’t lost any of the good she had as a kick-ass Agent.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that Faith, except that I would rather Bryce stay dead. I think it is a bummer that they killed him off, but since they did he should stay that way.

      • thinkling says:

        OK, Faith, that’s reasonable for sure. We’re not far off in concept, it was just the wording. I expect an issue or two to surface, though I don’t want a constant flow of issues.

        Having Bryce or Jill back for the reasons you mentioned seems reasonable. It’s always nice to see other people see what we see in Chuck and Sarah.

      • Faith says:

        One of my biggest disappointments of the season was that although we had Carina back (awesome, and one of my wishes for season 4), she didn’t really needle Sarah or Chuck much in terms of the change in the status quo between them, nor did she tease Sarah for being domesticated. Carina’s always good for needling so that was missed. It’s one of the positives for me of Three Words, one of the best parts of Wookie: C: “This place is like if a yawn could yawn. How do you survive it?” | S: “I’m good here.” Although in theory she didn’t really need to because like everyone on Chuck she too have grown, but I still missed it. And although it would have been “done” if repeated in terms of Jill and or Bryce I think it would still work and work well.

        Like you said, it’s always nice to reaffirm what it is we see ourselves. Particularly when it’s from people that mean or meant a lot to them once upon a time.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Faith, I think I understand what you are saying, but at the risk of offending, and opening up a whole season 3 thing, Carina shouldn’t be expected to react the same way, because she saw three very distinctly different situations, and you minimize Carina by assuming she is not the smart one who can see the difference. 😉

        In season 1, Carina saw Sarah infatuated with another co-spy. After all, Chuck revealed his clearance when he recited Carina’s last assignment. That made him fair game, but the thing was, he saw something in Sarah that perhaps Carina saw, but didn’t really process, or accept, and she maybe also saw a change in Sarah.

        So fast forward to season 3, Walker is really compromised, and this Chuck guy, well he’s the cause, and while he seems to be a screw-up, it also seems he’s the guy they all, she included, can count on when it matters.

        So then season 4, Walker has decided to mary the screw-up, the guy who comes through, despite his shortcomings. Perhaps she’s seen some advantage to having a domesticated nerd. But then, things get interesting. The Cat Squad, aka Sarah’s past is back, and seeing how Chuck handles it might be interesting. Through Morgan, Carina finds there is steel in nerd spines, and Chuck, the guy she’s seen has something more to offer, well, he may not be so bad for Walker after all, but Carina lets events take their course, outside the spy world, of course.

        I see Carina’s laid back, see what happens attitude as something that adds to the story possibilities. I see Carina’s changes as reflecting Sarah’s. Season 1 Carina would have never offered to “talk about it” and season 4 Carina wouldn’t dismiss Sarah’s dreams with a simple offer to run away from it.

      • thinkling says:

        Good observations on Carina, Ernie. I liked her growth as a character. I didn’t care for her much in Wookie, but I liked her in 3W, where she was really a friend. By the end of 3W, she had stopped needling. When Sarah didn’t want to run away (something Sarah was good at), Carina offered her something that might help her put her dream back together. I liked that. So, by the time Chuck invites her to their engagement party, she is past ribbing them. She knows something of what they’ve gone through, and she knows it’s not just a spy fling. BUT Carina has to needle somebody, so Morgan is her target.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I meant to add, all that being said about Carina’s growth and the evolution of Charah making some aspects of Carina’s original persona a far less sympathetic character in the present had they played her that way, I still agree with Faith, she was under-used in Cat Squad and Cliffhanger. I say one more appearance next season in the Sarah’s family arc where she can make both Chuck and Sarah squirm before she heads off into the sunset.

      • jason says:

        the carina discussion is part of my reason for not wanting bryce and jill back – I think this writing team will have plenty to do in season 5, plenty of story to tell with new ideas, and way, way, way to much fan fic is now associated with each character such that they cannot live up to their own press clippings, so for me, I want new stories, not rehashing the old. The one ep from season 4 that underwhelmed me was 100% due to my expectations, I really thought murderrrr was going to be a honeymooners level episode, an agatha christie procedural where chuck and sarah would be on their own, tandem fighting, several bed scenes, lots of ‘plans’ and ‘planning’ time, couple of dinner trays worth of room service, you shipper’s know what I had in mind – my point is – about jill, about bryce, about even honeymooners, those eps were already, with 13 eps left, lets hope TPTB create a few masterpieces their own way, 1 or 2 genius new characters, ideas and stories, and epically romantic moments – well maybe a couple dozen of those – and somehow try to keep morgan from ruining / stealing every scene.

      • thinkling says:

        I pretty much agree with all that Jason. I can see what others see in bringing back Jill (not Bryce — he’s too dead), but it’s not my preference. Carina and Zondra would make more sense to me from the A-Team standpoint … help on a mission. I liked Zondra thrown into the mix. (I wonder if they got fired too?)

        That said, I’d be very happy for S5 to stand on its own. I would like to see some great new stuff. Genius new characters, epically romantic moments — I definitely like the sound of that. I’d like to see a good conspiracy story that ties the mythology together and great family stuff. Time is short, so they have to prioritize. In that vein, Jill isn’t high on my list.

        How do you feel about a Stephen voice appearance or the return of Hartley?

      • jason says:

        hartley is easy for me – he pretty much is a member of the cast now, if he wants to be. Plus, HE IS NOT DEAD. Another plus – fans would have very little in terms of hartley expectations, hence he could be used quite creatively, should Dalton choose to return.

        Stephen, he is dead, but if they bring back his voice, I suppose that is ok, if they bring him back alive that is a little worse, unless he becomes the story of season 5 – which I think might be a stretch.

        For my 2 cents, I’d rather the ‘big’ story be chuck and sarah’s portrayal of a H2H spy couple solving the ‘big’ mystery, with the help of an A team, which consists of more than morgan and casey, because morgan and casey has been in the oven for an hour too long already, the meat is turning into jerky. Let mary join, maybe beckman, some ellie and awesome, and maybe even a new character – I think either carina or zohndra would be fine for such a role – since the role would be new – where I have trouble, is when characters are brought back to fullfill fan fic – bring bryce or jill back to show how much chuck and sarah have grown – do we really need ex-LI’s there to know that – i mean really – come on? Let’s do something new and creative.

        eeeeeend of rant.

  5. Gord says:

    Like a lot of the suggestions and here’s a few more that I would like
    1. Morgan to lose the intersect early in the season
    2. Chuck to get the intersect back
    3. A Morgan/Alex wedding (or at the very least engagment)
    4. Casey to have a love interest (possilbly reconnect with Kathleen but could be someone new)
    5. Chuck insisting the team only use tranq guns – I can just imagine Casey’s reaction to that.

    Ernie with respect to your number 4 – you forgot to mention the hostess dress from Aisle of Terror.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Hmmm, fair point Gord, Chuck did mention that one specifically. Unfortunately I don’t think it was distinctive enough for all of the fans to make the connection with Sarah as Chuck’s fantasy girl (especially since they were a well established couple by then). I’m going to stick with Weinerliscious outfit and supply closet just for the references to Truth where Sarah really started to fall for Chuck. That and Sarah saving a Weinerliscious uniform for four years would be … shall we say an interesting window into her character?

      • Rick Holy says:

        With all that ridiculous stuff with that “Weiner” Congressman from New York(?), I think a return of the Weinerlicious outfit would be very timely! 🙂

      • BDaddyDL says:

        If we are mentioning outfits I think Sarah’ s nerd herd outfit could come out of retirement.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’d be cool with that. 😉

        In reality though I think I push this for a sort of closure. As a (ahem) passionate married couple I sort of want to see some sign that they’ve reconciled some of the past miscommunication and feelings they never seemed to address. Having them re-enact something from their past, when it was “just a cover” but there were real feelings would kind of bring things full circle in the final season. I just look at the opening of, and frankly a lot of “Truth” as where things became real.

        So I’m sticking with Weinerliscious outfit, in the supply closet.

  6. Rick Holy says:

    My “Top 5” isn’t 5 – it’s NINE – as an order of 9 more episodes to “end” on that magic number of 100!! They say it won’t happen, but hey – who da thunk we’d make it to a Season 5 in the first place!

    Barring that happening what I would LOVE to see – since it didn’t happen in the actual proposal – is a final scene that returns to “the beach.” A “flash forward” to Chuck and Sarah as some point in the future – walking along the beach with a little Bartowski/Walker-Burton toddler between them. And of course, the perfect ending would be to have the kid “flash” on something, showing that the Intersect can be passed down “through the genes.” Ridiculous? Well so is the idea of a computer getting downloaded into someone’s brain!! 🙂

    Looking forward to a great season. It will be the first season that I won’t have to worry about ratings. They’re going to do the 13 episodes no matter what! Now about that Back 9….. 😉

    Enjoy your summer, all. And Keep on Chuckin.

    Oh, almost forgot. Our parish festival was a week ago. As I was talking to some of the folks the subject of CHUCK came up. (How could it NOT?). Anyway, I found out that one young lady who happens to be in the Purdue marching band was with the band at the Indy 500 – they perform before the race. And just WHO did she get her picture taken with? The mohawk growing, beard-in-progress man himself, ZACH LEVI!! Some people just have all the luck!

  7. luckygirl says:

    1) Every episode that features a sexy Sarah scene needs to also feature either Shirtless Awesome or Chuck. Fair is fair.
    2) Restore the Chuck/Ellie relationship to its earlier importance. Their relationship is what made me love the show when I first started watching.
    3) I want a babysitting episode. Chuck/Sarah could start out watching her then get called away, so then Morgan/Casey take a turn, but something comes up so then maybe for some reason Jeffster could take a crack at it. Then the rest of their storyline could be finding the baby which they will of course have lost in the Buy More.
    4)I want more oddcouple scenes. Casey-Ellie, Casey-Awesome, Awesome-Sarah, Alex-Chuck, Alex-Sarah, Sarah-Jeffster. I want to see more of how they interact individually.
    5) I want a Thanksgiving and Christmas episode this year. Especially Christmas, since there has been a couple Thanksgivingy themed episodes.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I’ll back you up on every one of those, even #1 in the interests of fairness.

      (But Morgan in tightie whities doesn’t count? Really?) 😉

      • luckygirl says:

        Oh man, the only way to make Morgan in tightie whities bearable would be to have Awesome shirtless in every single scene of the enitre episode. And I mean EVERY SCENE no matter what was happening, just to get the image out of my head.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        So I’m guessing Jeff’s raw animal magnetism is also a non-starter…

      • luckygirl says:

        Mmm, Jeff now you’re talkin’ but you’d have to throw in Lester too, because in my mind they are one. Could my television handle the lava like hotness, though? Sadly (thankfully), I’ll probably never know. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        I’d agree with all of these too; although my impression is that Awesome shirtless scenes already outnumber all cheesecake scenes involving Sarah, Ellie, or anyone else!

      • luckygirl says:

        @ atcDave – I don’t the statistics. I just know, in my mind, Awesome + shirtless = Never Enough. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Aha! (I guessed it was something like that!)

      • Rick Holy says:

        Not that I have ANY desire to see this – but for those of the “fairer” sex, what about a shirtless CASEY scene or two? I don’t think we’ve see anything of the sort up to this point. And face it, Adam Baldwin is built like a linebacker! (Plus, folks. Don’t forget that we had a “shirtless Morgan” scene when he quite the BuyMore as well as a shirtless Chuck scene – or two.)

        And I’m with atcDave. The number of shirtless Awesome scenes has FAR outnumbered the sexy Sarah scenes. It’s just that the Sarah scenes are SO MUCH BETTER that they only SEEM like there were more of them! 😉

        As for Jeff and/or Lester – thanks, but no thanks. The “gag reel” scene of Jeff busting in on the Sarah/Shaw scene (in bikini briefs) was WAAAAAAAAY more than enough to fill the “semi-clothless” Jeff quotient for the series.

        Ay. Ay. Ay. How do we get on these topics???? Will have to admit, I downloaded the song from iTunes that was the “Sarah trying on the different bikinis song” for one reason and one reason only – and that reason WASN’T that I like “Hawaii-sounding” music! 😉

    • Faith says:

      Ditto the holidays, I’ve really missed it.

      You know what would be great? Bringing back the Mother’s Day in October. It would be an emotional episode what with MamaB being back and having to reminisce. Loves it.

      • ladycat713 says:

        I’ve been wanting them to bring up Mother’s day ever since we first heard about Mama B being part of the storyline. I really wanted to find out her reaction.

    • Mike says:

      You know, I was really SHOCKED, that they never had any Casey/Chuck/Sarah baby interaction in season 4. Other than the brief moment when everyone was looking at baby Clara in Seduction Impossible (?), there wasn’t a single scene with any of the three majors holding or interacting with the baby. I thought that had huge comedic potential especially for Sarah if she had any nerves going into the wedding and future family possibilities. It seemed like a lost opportunity.

      • thinkling says:

        I was surprised by that, too. I had hoped for a baby sitting scene, especially Sarah with Clara. They can still do it, but now she’s no longer a baby, so it’s totally different. The way TPTB tell time she may be starting first grade in S5 😉 😀

  8. Waverly says:

    The primary thing I want is for the main characters to be positive and optimistic. That doesn’t mean there can’t be serious challenges that they worry about. But it does mean that I don’t want any of them to be depressed — the unwatchable first part of Pink Slip comes to mind.

    I think it could be fun to have Jill or Cole come back. Neither has seen what Chuck can do with the intersect, assuming he gets it back. (Hmmm, actually I can’t remember if Jill saw any intersect 1.0.)

    I would prefer not to see much in the way of retrospectives. They’re boring. And good ones can be found on YouTube.

    A terrific, clever, and surprising cliff-hanger would be a great final scene. Getting intersect 2.0 at the end of season 2 was good, but I bet they can do even better. Certainly better than the endings of the other seasons.

    • atcDave says:

      I sure agree about avoiding a depressed lead (Chuck or Sarah). I hated Pink Slip right from the start; its not what I ever want to see from Chuck.

    • Faith says:

      I’m surprised that Chuck has still yet to have a clip show. When a show nears 100 it usually has one or two of those somewhere in there.

      As for depressed, I don’t know, I quite liked it when Sarah was missing him in Phase Three. One of my favorite scenes of the season actually. I just melt when she gets up and sniffs his shirt.

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I can’t argue with that that. Maybe it’s different because we knew it was leading to decisive action? Even though Sarah was distraught, the scene just was not depressing; we knew great things were ahead.

      • thinkling says:

        Right. That’s two entirely different kinds of depressed.

      • Waverly says:

        I never got any hint of depression or even hopelessness in Phase Three. Just a lot of determination, in various forms, depending on the state of the search.

  9. Rk2011 says:

    Bring back Vivian so she can get her deserved Sarah Walker beat down. That scene was missing in 4.24…..

  10. Amrit says:

    Reading these comments I have to ask an important question, fans do know that this is a serialised show? right? So in essence like any type of serialised show there is a journey and there is growth and serialised shows do tend to explore the darker elements of human nature…that is how you get an acceptable well earned journey. A lot of commentator here want a procedural type season and show this season and lambast it in previous seasons for not being like that. To be honest for me, if they treated this show as a procedural where all we got was the happy times rinsed and repeated, I would get bored. I think I am happy about the journey. I also fully accept season 3 ( except the love interests, and not because I am a shipper, it is because they added nothing to the story, it was like a) the writers did not trust the audience to remember what cole and bryce and jill and lou represented and b) also the story was packed enough that we realised that the characters had come to a cross roads at that point in the story. But Alas as I said I enjoyed the journey.

    • Rev says:

      Personally I’m all for a journey, but you know often things seem to happen just to add drama, and then we don’t hear anything about it anymore. Take the ending in vs The Gobbler, with the whole distance thing. Ok so Sarah made a choice, and her choice was not what I wanted to see, and it was not what I expected from a woman that was seconds away from being engaged to the love of her life, but a choice is a choice. However we never heard about it again, so then what’s the point? Same goes with adding the remarks about Shaw and Sarah in his loft, what was the point? The way I saw it, they just let the shippers feel like crap, rather then progress the story that way. Same goes with other angsty situations in season three, take the red test, Chuck shooting Shaw, the name reveal, need I continue? I’m all for a journey, and I don’t care if they make it dark, but for the love of anything Chuck, make it have a point. So yeah, let the season be about the journey fine with me(though i still hope for a nice epilogue kind of episode) but let every small thing that happens have a reason.

    • Amrit says:

      The point is consequences in season 3 chuck paid the price for his earlier decisions and Sarah momentarily had to face the possible consequences of undertaking the mission she volunteered for even if it was a small moment.

    • Faith says:

      There are definitely difference of opinions and passionate ones at that when it comes to episodic Chuck vs. serialized Chuck. I personally like the balance, I think Chuck does it well and it works for me. More, I think Chuck needs to do both to truly be great.

      I’m a big fan of growth both from the characters in a season long journey as well as the conflicts that arise and builds as the season progresses. To me it’s essential. I consider the last 6 or so of season 2 to be the best they’ve ever done–both in terms of character growth and building to a climax of epic proportions. In true Chuck fashion to boot, with heart and family. And yet I find that bottle episodes are some of my favorites. It’s really just a testament to how great Chuck can be when it hits all the right notes.

      As for drama, I think I’ve made it clear but just in case, I do need it as well. I think Chuck is also best when it hits the right notes of its action, dramedy, spy flick mantra. Some of my favorite episodes and scenes are the saddest ones. I mentioned earlier that I wanted more of YS’ patented facial Oscar-Worthy emoting next season. I enjoy seeing the characters conflicted. I enjoy seeing the highs from the lows. Well I wouldn’t say enjoy but I like to be made to feel the spectrum of emotions they’re feeling. But the low also has to mean something, have more of an emotional punch and not be as safe or as forgettable, otherwise the highs wouldn’t feel as good. But most of all I want it good but not so awful and inorganic that I want to skewer my heart and stomp on it.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I was going to add something about not needing to milk every last ounce of drama out of everything in the plot, but Faith’s point about balance and Amrit’s point of a momentary bit of doubt and drama until Chuck decides to step in and end things pretty much covers things. The balance and recognizing when some bit of drama is played out and milked dry is something a lot of fans found lacking in the accursed arc that shall not be named. 😉 The PLI angle was pretty played out, and the interpersonal angst with Chuck and Sarah was approaching played out even before S#@w arrived on the scene to flog it for 8 more episodes. It was in trying to milk more drama out of something that the characters should have been past and had no more place in the story that TPTB misjudged, and wedged in a spy plot that had us treading water on what most of us like best in Chuck, the characters, their growth, and the larger story. About episode 9 or 10 I lowered my expectations for any movement or resolution till the very end of the original 13.

      I think the declined call was an example of finding the balance they had in season 2, where things rarely dragged on for more than a few episodes. Think Jill and Cole.

      In season 4 Chuck and Sarah are in a vastly different place than even the back 6 of 3, and while they may question each other and themselves on occasion it no longer makes sense for the characters to leave such things unresolved. Chuck will take action so the situation doesn’t get out of control and make Sarah a hostage like Mary, and Sarah will find a way to re-connect with who she is now, a woman with friends and family she can turn to for strength, rather than continually close herself off and push others away.

      I think the scene was a valid way to show the risks Sarah and Chuck faced because of the stresses and the danger the spy-life puts them in, but I think at the end of the arc it was pretty natural for it to be quickly resolved without undue angst.

      • Amrit says:

        I do not think that the angst between chuck and sarah was played out in season 3. I think that because of one thing, that the train station scene in prague was not as bad as I first thought. One thing that always confused me at the time time was why did chuck not give a great speech like he did at the end of three words in the vault he had 3 weeks to think about what he would say and what he would not say. But then I remember the lou arc and the jill arc and the bryce and cole arcs and I remember that these characters are flawed. At the begining of season 3 chuck was just as flakey a character (at times) and so was sarah then they ever were. I mean think about it, Chuck has been stuck in the buymore for six years! (or more or less, I cannot remember) he refused the supervisory promotion, he let himself fall into a rut. He may have been betrayed by Bryce and Jill, but that was no excuse to let his life spiral out of control (before the series started). There is no rule that says you need a college degree to succeed in life (see Bill Gates or Richard Branson), Chuck was a flawed character no doubt (we all are in some ways), but he let his life stall, he was immature at times, he lacked self esteem, he lacked self belief, he lacked a lot of things. I know fans and people in general always look back and try and remember the good times and so when season 2 is remembered we remember the great speeches the great moments between chuck and sarah and all other things. But the guy who turned up at the train station was they guy who had flaws that we as humans by nature forgot about. It may have been heartbreaking for some, but it was true to character and as long a character acts within the perview of their personalities then the angst is was not played out in my opinion. As I said it is the beauty of serialised story telling, where we see a journey that gets played on both ends of the spectrum and the story is all the more richer for it. But as a side not, the love interest was not needed, we saw it before and nothing was new.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I guess I should add to a large number of fans the angst and PLI angle were played out. There is always a personal taste and preferences factor involved in these matters, so add that modification to what I’ve said. But I think the larger point is that the balance and how far to take things, while they are also matters of taste to some degree, is one TPTB seem to continually struggle with. I think that we should allow that not every episode can have all the elements that make the best of Chuck truly shine, and some of that is story and season dependent. Within each season, depending on where you are in the season, episodes will start fairly light, grow darker as the first run-in with the big bad approaches, then will be briefly lighter for a few till the last few where the final show-down happens near the end of the last episode (or 13th) with a celebratory feeling in the epilogue. It also works for seasons.

        Based on Schwedak’s claim that they had a general 5 season outline in mind (and sort of merging aspects of season 1&2, I would expect 2 to start light and grow darker toward the end, then 3 to be darker and more dramatic with 4 having an almost celebratory feel, and for 5 to go gradually darker for the final showdown. I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do or that they have to, it’s just what I expect. But as the characters grow and progress the balance point continually changes. You can throw more at Charah now because they’ve shown they can handle it. Chuck can’t be as much the comedian in the spy-world, but Sarah, her facade cracked, can be now. It’s a continuous process with the character growth, finding what works and what doesn’t as the story progresses. While I understand that some fans weren’t as happy with some aspects of this season, and others say season 2 was the last time they had it right, to me this season has been probably the second best if not the best taken as a whole. There are season 2 episodes, like 3D that don’t do much for me, but I can honestly say that with the possible exception of Family Volkoff, and that’s an iffy one, I like just about every episode more on re-watch. To me that says they’ve got the new balance point about right.

      • atcDave says:

        Again, I’m mostly agreeing with Ernie here. But I think S5 will play pretty light. That may not have been the original intent, and I certainly agree Chuck and Sarah could handle more serious challenges together than they could back in S3.5. But my feeling from the new Bartowski family fortune, the Morgansect, and TPTB talking about Hart to Hart meets A-Team leads me to think S5 will be played pretty much for fun.

    • atcDave says:

      For starters, I have clearly said all along I prefer episodic storytelling to serialized; and I don’t like seeing darker themes, at least where the leads are concerned. I like seeing some growth and progress for the characters, and the occasional spy story that takes longer than a single episode to resolve; but I like when something feels like “normal” for the show and characters too, and I prefer major plots be tied up at the end of each week (usually).
      Now all that said, I think Chuck has found that perfect balance for me in seasons 1, 2, and 4. I’ll shock Ernie by saying his critique about S3 came very close to my own feelings on the subject (except for “accepting” the direction late in the season!). The problem for me is, I don’t really give a rip about any grand scheme or epic journey; I watch because I love the two lead characters and want to watch them interact and grow closer together (no, that isn’t the ONLY thing I love about the show, but it is HUGE in how I rate things). S3 failed for me because the central relationship was in a dark place for most of the season and both lead characters were presented in a negative light for a large chunk of that time. Again, I want to see both characters in a positive light; either one failing at the end of an episode will ruin the episode for me. So, since one or the other (or both!) characters were failing all season long (and as a couple they failed for twelve strait episodes!) I found nothing to be happy with.
      As far as exploring conflicts and dark places for the lead characters in the current context; I really am okay with some issues coming up as long as they seem organic to the story and personalities while honoring the characters we know and love. What does that mean? Well, I was completely fine with the ending of Aisle of Terror and dispute we saw in First Fight because it seemed completely fitting for Chuck and Sarah to make the decisions they did, the situation seemed plausible, it was resolved quickly, and much of the conflict was played for laughs. I was less pleased with the dismissed phone call at the end of Gobbler; that seemed like a foolish decision, it was already an overused cliche on Chuck, and it didn’t seem to be of any particular consequence to the story.
      Going forward, I HOPE the tone of the show stays more light and fun as opposed to dramatic or dark. I’m not quite as firm on this as Jason is below; I think much of this cast can handle more drama when needed, and I take the characters and story seriously enough it effects me when they do more dramatic stories. But I watch to have a good time. I’m okay with poignant moments (Sarah getting teary eyed at the end Wedding Planner was beautiful); and I like the idea of hurting for our leads on occasion. But I never want to dislike Chuck or Sarah; that is when the show utterly fails for me.

      • Amrit says:

        So we I guess you want a show that is like those cheesy procedurals (and lots of loving with the two leads) …….boring…..but understandable….no wonder old darth quit.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Again, some of these are matters of personal taste. Some of the light and flexible nature of the spy plots (something Chuck has always struggled with) can be a bit too much for some fans when dragged out too long, and some of the areas Chuck doesn’t go to out of fear of going to dark strike some fans as a cheat. I see these, along with an occasional firm grasp on the stupid stick and the occasional lapses in plot continuity as things that Chuck has struggled with all along to one degree or another, but as the story progresses and the show reinvents itself peoples level of tolerance for these things can change or reach their limit.

        I’m sorry for that, but I wouldn’t change the show on the basis of what one faction or another of the fans want. TPTB need to make the show they believe in and think is good and hope the fans come along and agree.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t find all procedurals boring or cheesy. And as I said I do like some serialized elements; but yes, I like episodic. This is a matter of taste. It is amazing so many different viewers were drawn to Chuck in the first place. And I would point out I have been off the charts happy with 3 out of 4 seasons. But one season went places I have no desire to ever return to; my S3 discs essentially exist for Honeymooners only.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie I do agree some of what’s happening is just the highly diverse fandom shaking itself apart to some degree as viewers approach their personal limits on certain things. I don’t entirely agree about TPTB just telling their own story, I think there is a responsibility of the storyteller to entertain their audience. But we have such a diverse audience with Chuck it may be difficult to quantify what pleasing this audience means sometimes.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, I think my point about TPTB is that they need to rely on their own best judgement and create something that they are proud of and find entertaining and fun, since they will never get more than a very general read from such a diverse fanbase.

      • thinkling says:

        Faith and Ernie and Dave have expressed so much of how I feel.

        Faith, I agree that Chuck hits a good balance between procedural and serialized. I like some overarching story (mythology if you prefer). I’ve enjoyed watching the Intersect/Bartowski story unfold — and Sarah’s story, and character growth is really important to me. However I really love some of the stand alone episodes. They are often my favorites, too (Cougars, Tom Sawyer, DeLorean,Wedding Planner … I loved those episodes). I do not like a continual dark story. Chuck manages to do good dramatic mythology that doesn’t go too dark. There are more notes of victory than dark moments, not to mention the wonderful lighter entertainment with family, comedy, action, and romance … win win win win win. Many shows fail (for me) for lack of balance. I lost interest in House, because the characters never grew and the show was completely formulaic. I don’t care to watch darker shows where it’s one long, plodding mythology, like Heroes or 24. So Chuck is perfect.

        I agree with Ernie about the PLI’s of S3 and milking the CS angst drama when it had long since been milked dry. The PLI’s detracted from the story, as did the overgrinding of the angst mill. TPTB included familiar, trite devices (and overextended them) that served neither the story nor the central relationship and lead characters.

        Dave said, I watch because I love the two lead characters and want to watch them interact and grow closer together. That’s the core of what I love. It’s where I am most invested as a viewer. I like the mythology and even the journey, especially insomuch as it adds to the interaction and growth of the leads. It’s good for them to have a story that matters, a challenge to overcome, an enemy to conquer. But if the journey or mythology becomes the focus to the exclusion of Chuck and Sarah interacting and growing together, then the show loses its appeal. If it stays dark too long or takes gratuitous angst too far or morally damages the central characters too much, then the story fails its purpose and becomes self-defeating.

        That’s why S4 is a total win for me. Chuck and Sarah are together, in a good place, operating from a foundation of love, trust, and strength. They meet challenges and grow through them. The story is great: the growth of the central couple + multifaceted redemption + twists and turns along the way + brilliant, satisfying wraps (both half seasons). It’s personal, yet important to national and global security. The villain is fantastic. There are hero moments for both Chuck and Sarah, who are unquestionably noble and heroic throughout. The drama, as Dave said is germane and in character. Aisle of Terror/First Fight as well as FOD … good drama, organic to the story and characters, and resolved in good time. Same with the final arc Leftovers thru Push Mix … well set up and played out. I hope they keep the same tone and balance in S5.

      • atcDave says:

        Thank you Thinkling for focusing on the positive aspect of this (S4!); and not the failure as some of us did (umm, me?).

  11. jason says:

    problem is hardly any fan is willing to accept any drama in chuck OTHER than chuck is harmed by or thru sarah – why not have morgan lose a leg or even better his tongue, have awesome start an affair with alex, have casey be the big bad or even beckman – the reason none of this ever happens is FEW fans really want drama, all they want sarah or the world thru sarah to cause harm to chuck which we had 4 seasons of

    hurt anyone other than chuck or sarah, do anything gruesome, write the most depressing show possible full of consequences for meaningless actions and I am all in, but let sarah and chuck deal with the misery together if that needs to be your legacy.

    But, I have asked this question of many, without ever getting a good answer, how can a show that has beckman, morgan, jeff, lester, big mike, and captain awesome as six of the regularily paid cast of ten (and zach / baldwin are no de niro’s either for that matter) do serious stuff? Even when the pro’s (dalton, scotty b) come in to guest star, the more successful guest stars tend to emphasize quirky humor rather than intensity.

    I don’t understand why fans just don’t let the show and the cast be what they are, be warm and yet quirky, goofy, zany, have all kinds of contradictions, while still going off and solving a mystery while having fun – that is when the show is at it best – the show got by the first 4 seasons in spite of its angst and misery, not because of it – in my opinion of course.

    • Amrit says:

      Because Jason the show is called CHUCK, the tone and the path the show take has to evolve around him. The people who get hurt have to be the people he most cares about, etc, etc, etc. That is why season 3 went dark, because the tone reflected his emotional state and mood, it was traumatic, etc. The only reason they really keep Jeffster and Big Mike is because the show runners are made by the WB to keep the buymore (it helps pay the bills via advertising).

      • Amrit says:

        That also explains why the tone for season 4 was lighter or appeared to be lighter. Chuck and the people around him were happier and so was he, therefore there appeared to be a better balance. The beauty of serialisation! There maybe dark times (more darker then procedurals ever get) but when there is payoff and lighter times….they blow procedurals out of the water…aka honeymooners…but the journey is the key.

      • atcDave says:

        Again, totally disagree Amrit. The failure of serialized story telling is it went dark for a prolonged period in S3; when too many of us signed up for the light and fun adventures and stories we got in the first two seasons. S3 was essentially bait and switch. It wasn’t what I signed up for and it made me REALLY angry. And I totally disagree about any need for it based on where the characters were. The S3 story (Chuck growing in the spy world and learning the Intersect; while Sarah worries about him changing, and a mentor/team member betrays the team) could have been played for fun and laughs just easily as the S4 story (Chuck and Sarah finding maturity as a couple, while rescuing Mary from a 20 year mission and psychopath who threatens the entire extended Bartowski family) could have played dark and brooding. Those tone shifts are decided along side the story arc; not directly because of it. We’ve all seen enough TV and movies to know serious themes can be played for laughs, and trivial issues can become high drama. It is simply false to claim one requires the other. S3 stands out as aberration and to me it was completely a mistake. You are of course allowed to like it, but that is purely a matter of taste; it cannot be defended in absolute terms, a viewer either liked it or they didn’t.

  12. Amrit says:

    The way people talk about season 1 and 2 they believe there was no angst! If I remember correcty the Lou arc was angst, any time Bruce showed up there was angst and cole and Jill and end of suburbs and loads of other times there was angst! Was there more angst in season 3….probably yes, but the stakes were higher and the characters were reaching q cross roads in both their professional and personal lives. Looking back at mo ryan interview with fedak post other guy she really only bemoaned the shaw and Sarah romance…. Which I agree was unnecessary and did not add anything to the story.

    • atcDave says:

      If you’ve been reading here this last season Amrit you know our operative term has been “organic angst.” That is, we will accept angst that seems natural to this story and these characters; but when it seems repetitive or manipulative we will object. As I said, for three seasons Chuck has had wonderful balance on such things by changing the sort of angst to fit the stories and characters. Many of us reject S3 because it clubbed us with a sort of angst we were already tired of (the relationship).
      And I mostly agree with Mo Ryan. Although I intensely disliked Pink Slip too; the triangles (Sarah/Shaw AND Chuck/Hannah) were the one thing I simply cannot accept from S3. That is where the story completely failed me. But it failed so catastrophically I pretty much just reject S3 in its entirety. I do not find it entertaining even a little.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well Dave it looks like we agree again. What’s the world coming to?! I started the post below and posted it before seeing your post, but I think the point is there, angst is fine if it fits where the story and the characters have progressed to and seems to flow naturally from that as opposed to angst for angst sake.

      • atcDave says:

        Its an Independence Day miracle! (hmmmm, something’s not right about that…)

      • thinkling says:

        It’s amazing how much angst would disappear from S3 by removing the PLI’s. For starters the apocalyptic nature of PS could have been toned way down. I get the feeling (maybe I’m wrong) that TPTB were overly enamored of wt/wt and the idea of a serious break-up and trapezoid, and how cool (thought they) to bring in Superman and Superman’s girlfriend as the other points of the trapezoid. To some (me, for instance) it might appear that the season was engineered to accommodate this single element, hence the PS apocalypse, because nothing short of that could have broken them up. Some of the other things (red test) were also exaggerated and overblown to facilitate the LI drama. To me they crippled what might have been a compelling story to fulfill this wish out of time.

        So the story (Dave’s summary: Chuck growing in the spy world and learning the Intersect; while Sarah worries about him changing, and a mentor/team member betrays the team) could have been told in a clearer fashion without the interloping love interests. The angst would have come from the story and would have been more meaningful had it not been mired in the LI angst.

      • atcDave says:

        I do think you’re right Thinkling about how impressed they were with their love trapezoid story. I remember the interviews after Comic Con where they seemed SO EXCITED by it; and easily 80% of forum and internet comments were skeptical or flat out angry. What a dichotomy; we were SO clear we were not excited about this story…

        …have I mentioned recently how much I really loved S4?!

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Dave. And if S5 follows suit, we will have had almost half of the episodes telling the part of the story that most interests me. Not to speak ill of 1&2. I love them, too, but S4 is payoff. Chuck and Sarah made it through, and now they continue their story together. In my mind there’s a lot more story to tell. The wt/wt, Chuck becoming a man and a spy, Sarah becoming a real girl — vulnerable and in love, getting them together … that’s the prelude to the adventures of the awesome spy couple fighting bigger dragons and winning bigger battles … together. H2H meets A-Team — what a fertile ground for great stories.

        I expect Chuck and Sarah to face evil villains and threats and darkness. That makes a great story, as long as the darkness is around them and not between them. I think S5 will play at about the same tone as S4. I fully expect an evil big-bad in the CIA PM. I look forward to the unfolding mystery of the conspiracy and Sarah’s past. But, like you, I anticipate the Chuck and Sarah tone of S4, along with similar Bartowski threats. I mean Volkoff coming to dinner, pointing guns at Chuck and Sarah, Vivian blowing up Castle and nearly killing Sarah … those were serious threats — like Marlin, Santa Claus and Ring on steroids. But the season still kept its heart and humor, comedy and romance, action and sploding things. I just don’t think it gets any better.

        I know not everyone agrees, and that’s fine. That’s just my 2c. But if the favorites breakdown from our polls is any indication, then seasons 2&4 are way out front in terms of viewer approval.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I don’t think people deny the angst of seasons 1&2, but in those seasons it played as an organic part of their world and their situation, and was usually resolved within a very few episodes. In season 3, with the stakes raised and with both of them having supposedly matured and grown to the point where they saw what they wanted out of life and were willing to take great risks to get it, then they replay the same WT/WT angst, but with seemingly even less maturity. The angst seemed to run counter to the more dramatic and serious tone, making the characters, Sarah especially, look flakey. It, largely because they had an awesome spy-plot with an awesome spy named Shaw they were determined to do, was wedged into a world and a story where it no longer seemed to fit. So yes, there was some legitimate drama and angst to be had, but it was really poorly done IMHO. The reason, in my opinion is they ignored the organic progression of the story for the sake of a season-long plot device named Shaw being pushed front and center, practically to the point of leading man. So overall I agree that the season wasn’t as horrific for me as it is for some, but there were some serious problems with how they decided to plot out the season and play the angst.

      • Amrit says:

        Ernie I think if they left Hannah and shaw as just friends and examples of worst case senarios that would have made their character arcs so much more compelling. The should have made not only shows wife count but their relationship too, it should have been an example of what goes wrong when spies fall in love…..same with Hannah, if chuck thought life would be easier as a civilian Hannah should have taught him that as smart as he is, you can easily fail in the normal world if there is a global recession. The two guest characters should have mattered and that they did not is a shame, it really is.

      • atcDave says:

        It seems clear to me Amrit a huge part of how tolerant each of us is towards S3 has a lot to do with how much of a ‘shipper we were. Even those who didn’t care so much about the central relationship will often acknowledge the same shortcomings of S3 that die-hard ‘shippers see. The difference is; to a ‘shipper it is a fatal flaw, while to others its more of a shrug.
        I think I’ve been consistent on that; I didn’t like much of the darker tone in S3 and I doubt it ever would have been a favorite of mine. But the relationship malfunction is why I really can’t stand to watch any of it again. If my only complaint had been the show taking itself more seriously than it used to and a few darker themes explored I might have been won over to it in time (mostly). But they broke my favorite part of the show; that was not a small thing I can just be talked out of.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        A fascinating thread.

        As usual, I’m back in the Amen Corner behind Thinkling and atcDave, and I really hope you guys are right about the tone of S5. It really depends on Schwarz & Fedak.

        Don’t screw up, guys. Please?

      • atcDave says:

        Its funny VV, our various positions have stayed pretty consistent since the beginning; but it is fun to have to think through an explanation and defense of one’s position. I enjoy that part a lot.

      • herder says:

        I’m going to slip this in here, I was reading Daniel Feinberg’s review of the pilot of Grimm on http://www.hitfix.com and I came across this line. “Guintoli is wooden and Brandon Routh-esque, though the real Brandon Routh would have been promotable.” While I have sympathy for Routh at being saddled with such a poor characterization, I have little for TPTB who failed to write a story that made the PLI beleivable and the character sympathetic when we were supposed to like, or at least respect him, instead it came across as WTF is she doing with this clod? If you are going to do something that you know the fans won’t be keen on ( and they had to know) at least don’t add insult to injury by doing it poorly.

      • atcDave says:

        Well put Herder. Brandon Routh has never been the primary object of my scorn; and you’re absolutely right, TPTB HAD to know most fans were unenthused with their intended story.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Herder, Dave, while I applaud your use of the generic TPTB based on the fact that we don’t know who made what decisions, I’ll just note that sometimes the decisions on the direction of a show, or even the casting, can be pushed or even made by a part of TPTB who specifically don’t have to worry about writing an episode. It’s just suspicion on my part, but based on how quickly Schwedak started leaking the new direction of the back 6 and passing out pre-screeners that quickly got critics past the more “controversial” episodes, and again in mid-season no less, they were well aware of potential problems in the direction of the season. Considering Chuck airs on the network that managed to kill Southland, Friday Night Lights and Heroes (and some will say Chuck) as viable network shows, and then proceeded to decide that Leno 5 nights a week was a better idea than actually, you know, developing new shows (nearly, or some will say actually killing Chuck in the process) I’m willing to cut Schwedak and the WB team a little more benefit of the doubt than the network that has shed a significant portion of its viewership in the last few years.

      • atcDave says:

        Hmmm, so that’s your motive Ernie?!

        I believe those other shows are actually NBC properties, so one would expect the network to do more direct meddling on those shows. You are right the network oversight of 2009/2010 would inspire no confidence from anyone. But I’ll continue to direct some of my frustration at the writer’s specifically because of how proud and smug they were about their direction from Comic Con 2009 until the start. That and I simply do not believe the network micro-managed all the details most of us found offensive; even if the network did mandate “keep the leads apart for one more season” there are so many ways that could have been better handled, that would not have outraged a huge chunk of the fandom. And I simply don’t believe the network insisted on love triangles and name reveals.
        I do think though, when Schwedak really saw they had a problem was right after Mask aired. We all went nuts with anger and frustration (yes, that means me). They knew this story would not be resolved for quite some time yet (2 weeks off for the Olympics, and FIVE episodes yet until the malfunction would be addressed); and it was SO poorly received from the very start, I think a bit of panic struck the brain trust. I do think the damage control they then implemented was partially successful. For one, they (falsely) gave me hope it wouldn’t carry out all the way to the end of the season and did give us reason to think the show would be what more of us wanted it to be in the back six (it was).

      • herder says:

        I’ll agree with Ernie that there well may have been interference from the network, they could have felt that with a bubble show they could make non-negotiable “suggestions” as to how things were to go. But there were also problems of execution, I don’t think the network said end every episode from 3.o6 to 3.12 on a down note, nor do I think they said make Chuck unlikeable, Sarah thick and Shaw incompetent.

        Be that as it may, there is plenty of blame to go around and the truth is that even with all the problems there were also some pretty good bits; “babe I decapitated a bear”, Fitzgerald’s Carmicheal fan club, the whole of the Beard except for any scene containing Shaw.

      • thinkling says:

        Herder, it’s a shame that some of those good moments were mired in the misery. The “bear” scene is always laugh out loud funny. Some episodes could have been pretty good if not for the geometric cloud, hiding the Chuck sun.

      • atcDave says:

        In particular, the “Awesome episodes” (3.03 and 3.04) are quite good. If you don’t think so much about the backdrop they are still pretty enjoyable. But we’ve had so much good in S4 I no longer feel the need to deal with S3 baggage on my re-watches.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but we know that NBC very deliberately did a number of things that normally would spell the end of the show, until NBC’s other decisions turned out even worse. NBC demanded the fee be cut in half, and only ordered 13 episodes as a post-olympic possible replacement, and essentially forced Schwedak to find their own funding, shorten the production time, and squeeze every possible cent out of the budget. They were, it seems, perfectly happy to see all the cast and crew take pay cuts and work 18 hour days, and then let it die after the first 13 episodes. Then whenever another show of theirs failed, to go back and ask for more of what they apparently thought so little of. Given that kind of hubris and their other decisions, why do we assume that the demands stopped entirely with the financial aspects of the production?

      • atcDave says:

        Only because that was one complaint we never heard from Schwedak and company. I base naming them as culpable purely on the fact they seemed quite proud of their work in the summer of 2009. They were on a high from how enthused we all were with S2, and I don’t blame them for that, but I still think they decided they knew exactly what they were doing and us ignorant masses should sit back, shut up, and bask in the coming greatness. We even heard not so subtle complaints from Brandon Routh about not being clued in what direction they were going with his character. I think if the network had mandated something there would have been a more clear “this is how it will be” that he would have been aware of.

        I’m not sure if we’ll ever really know; but my operating assumption on things that went wrong tends to blame NBC for money and scheduling issues, and Schwedak for most of the creative problems. Maybe someday we’ll get a big expose, like a book or series of detailed internet interviews; but until then I will generally assume each party was performing their traditional roles in the process. Again, Schwedak was TAKING credit for the creative process in the run up to S3, so I see no reason to assume otherwise.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yes, when you get down to the specifics of the script and the episodes the majority of the responsibility rests with the creative team, but 2 things. There was a clear decline in the quality of the production in season 3 due to the lowered budget. That extends to the time the writers had to script and the time the editors had to edit. Some of the blame lies with the network. Second, NBC, and every network, considers themselves part of the creative process. Every producer will tell you about network executives and “notes” given half a chance. Schwartz has done so in the past, after the show ended of course.

  13. jason says:

    combo of what I want for season 5 along with some stuff I just read – chuck vs zoom, zooms ahead 15 months into the future, during that time near everything has changed, morgan is struggling with the intersect, chuck is openly running the buymore, the new castle is state of the art and tripped out, and sarah has not been on the job for nearly 6 months – oh, and there is a new character in the cast – named stephen – closely related to chuck and sarah, but not chuck’s dad

    • atcDave says:

      Sarah has not been on the job for six months? After a 15 month jump? I wonder what that’s about? (I have some ideas that many folks won’t like!)

    • atcDave says:

      By the way Jason, is there a source for this that you can post over on the spoiler page or is just pure speculation? It seems awfully early to be getting this kind of spoiler.

      • herder says:

        Well they are supposed to start filming the episode in just over three weeks (I thought I read that filming starts the 28th) so I would think that the script is mostly written and that we should get casting calls in about two weeks time.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah but usually the casting announcements are the first spoilers we get for new seasons/episodes. So its still pretty early. And notice (linked below) its not even clear that spoiler was meant for Chuck; so we’re just having fun here.

      • herder says:

        Yeah, I saw that after I had posted my comment, truth be told the time jump applies as much if not more to Fringe and Castle (not so much for Glee, for them I could see a three month jump but not a 15 month one) than to Chuck.

        We had an indefinite time jump between seasons one and two, nine(?) months between seasons two and three, a somewhat elastic six to nine months between seasons three and four (never could reconcile the time line and I eventually gave up) so a time jump of sorts is not at all out of the question, but 15 months seems a lot.

      • thinkling says:

        @Herder: The 28th? That’s really soon. That means they could finish shooting the whole season before Christmas. What a terribly sad thought.

        It’s mind boggling to think what Schwedak could accomplish in a 15 to 18 month time jump. If their former time skills hold, Clara will be graduating from high school, and little Bartowski(s) will be the star of his/her (or their – I want twins) little league team.

      • atcDave says:

        Too funny Thinkling; that’s time according to Schwedak!

        They have normally started shooting late July. I think in most seasons they’ve taken Christmas break at about episode 12 or 13, so yeah, they could be all done by year’s end. Bummer.

      • jason says:

        on time jumps – we saw a movie yesterday – a coming of age romcom, but yet so different, a really solid, somewhat deep (at least to me) message buried in the last 10-15 minutes – 500 days of summer – I say time jumps, because the show is out of sequence all over the place

        a ? about season 3 – yea – we know – in chuck’s mind – sarah is the one for him – absolutely – but in sarah’s mind – sure she loves him, protects him, would do near anything for him, but was she convinced he was ‘her’ guy, ‘the’ guy, since in most cases when confronted, she really did somewhat hesitate – including cole and bryce at the end of s2?

        Problem with all this sort of stuff, the story told on screen was sort of thin vs the theories one can concoct to explain s3 , the season ended more like all of a sudden the torture was over at the end of 3×13, and TPTB said here you go fans, here is your stupid couple together, just like you wanted.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I would say that is among the S3 shortcomings, that we really never had a clue on Sarah’s thought process. She hinted at Chuck’s value to her several times in S2, but S3 really seemed to flush all that down the toilet until all of a sudden “she fell for him a long time ago…”
        It did feel rushed; but since the whole pointless torture arc was now over I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Of course the actual timing of the production makes your last interpretation unlikely. 3.14 had already been filmed before Mask ever aired. And the whole back six had already been written. So, whatever impact our comments may have had would be reflected in the S4 story, not S3 at all.

      • jason says:

        dave – my comment was more in a rhetorical sense about TPTB’s frustration with fans being invested in chuck and sarah for the first 2 seasons and comic con 2009, I know that 3×13’s end had nothing to do with fan’s reaction to any part of season 3.

    • patty says:

      6 months off could be an extended maternity leave. Stephen being either Chuck and Sarah’s baby (or the awesomes second baby).

  14. jason says:

    total spit ballin, except that zoom is the title and tvline has this on a 3 to 18 months

    http://www.tvline.com/2011/07/blind-item-hit-show-takes-a-flying-leap/

    blind time jump for some show with big changes to the show during that time, the show has rapid fans, as well as a hint the title of the show is one word – castle – fringe – chuck – glee – etc

    the guesses as to what the big changes are I am spitballin, many (most) of our bloggers love rehashing old plotsm characters, etc – I love guessing, speculating over future stuff much more, unfortunately, one has to make up most of it, since few really good hints ever exist – but sometimes (well nearly always) I throw something stupid out there, and someone else figures out the right answer, or at least a better one.

    • atcDave says:

      Okay, thanks for the link! I could see the jump making a lot of sense for Chuck, especially since they said DURING the episode. But a lot of other shows seem like good candidates for it too (do we really need to see 6 months of rehab for Beckett?).

      • thinkling says:

        Good point about Beckett’s recovery. It would make all kinds of sense to pick up with her and Rick post gunshot and surgery and then ffwd to a recovered Beckett together (maybe) with Rick and a new captain.

        I no longer watch House, but some commented that he has to serve jail time. That couldn’t be too entertaining on a medical show.

        I guess they could do a ffwd on Chuck, but it doesn’t seem as necessary. In fact, I’m not sure how I feel about it, especially not 18 months. And huge changes??? Harumph. I’m sure it would be fine. I just can’t quite picture it. The skipped part would be stuff that needs to happen that wouldn’t be particularly interesting to see.

        The only huge changes I could see would be a Bartowski baby. If they wanted to do a CS baby, that would be another way to do it besides an epilogue, because I don’t think we want the last season of Chuck to be with a pregnant Sarah. So, that would be a fast way to give them a family. But that would also skip some fun stuff. I think I want to see some of the immediate stuff from the end of Cliffhanger: Morgan’s first attemps at Intersect stuff, the Buymorons curiosity over the new owners, Chuck and Sarah newly married. Can’t decide, so I’ll just watch as it comes.

      • atcDave says:

        Yep, agree entirely. The jump makes sense if we really are going to see a Walkerstowski spawn this season. Otherwise I would prefer to see more of the immediate aftermath issues.

  15. SarahSam says:

    Stunt casting gone awry. On paper, I’m sure it looked great, but Fedak and Schwartz didn’t understand their own creation. Despite the issues that foiled the show ( the writer’s strike, nullifying the huge Super Bowl push with the 3-D episode), they had created something special in seasons 1/2. They were afraid to deviate from formulaic television ( Moonlighting curse, WT/WT ) and compromised the integrity of their own story and creation.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I think you hit the nail on the head SarahSam.

    • Amrit says:

      Fedak and Schwartz did know their own creation, the question that needs to be asked for the fans who are anti season 3 is why did it bother you that they built an arc around the character weaknesses? They needed to erradicate the weaknesses that chuck and sarah had as characters before they could put them together. That seems organic to me. Shaw may have been a casting mistake as was putting them together on a superficial level, but there was some reward and satisfaction to doing it, for example at the end of final exam…sarah may have said she did not love chuck, but that was not what really the message was…the message to us the audience is that she was telling a human being in the flesh that he was not good enough (Shaw), that whatever relationship they had or relationship sarah would have with another spy would not be one based on love or adoration or anything else. She was telling herself and the audience that she wanted more, that basically she was ending any chance of a real relationship with shaw. That is high integrity storytelling…and the best part for us is we knew chuck had not killed perry so he was still in with a chance with sarah. I still think the season story arc was the most humane arc the show had ever done. Having the characters show over 13 episodes what they wanted from life and love was a good move and deeply satisfying. But as Dave says it is a matter of taste, I see fans bemoaning anything community does when it is not going solely for laughs, I mean critical film studies got some serious stick even though it was the most humane episode they ever did…it was about 2 friends taking a moment out of their life to try and be close in the only way they knew how…it is sad that some fans just do not get it….

      • atcDave says:

        Its not a matter of not getting it, there are taste issues that are important to the viewer; and many of us felt S3 was horribly OOC. I mean Chuck, who was established as always wanting to talk about his thoughts, feelings, issues, etc. suddenly doesn’t communicate the how and why of his decision in Prague. And Chuck, who is supposedly so aware and sensitive towards others has no clue that his lack of communication will devastate Sarah? And faithful, reliable Chuck will go chasing after a new girl just a couple weeks after he told Sarah he loved her? And Sarah, who’s defining traits of S1 and S2 were her total devotion and selflessness towards Chuck is suddenly willing to let new guy blow Chuck up when the base is compromised? Or Sarah, who always helped Chuck deal with his new spy life, suddenly won’t help him deal with extraordinarily difficult things like burning an asset or killing someone?
        Chuck and Sarah of S3 are simply not even recognizable from the first two seasons. And yes, human beings are complex, there is no telling when a steady behavior may shockingly change in a real person; so these things could have been rationalized or justified by careful writing. But the writing actually felt sloppy and rushed to me; and most importantly, it utterly failed the entertainment test. That is, I no longer liked these characters and had no desire to get to know them all over again.

        But, as always, taste is the ultimate arbiter in entertainment. If you had a good time with the story there is nothing stopping you from celebrating the episodes you like and watching them over and over. But those of us who strongly disliked the season have a whole assortment of reasons for why it failed us. From Pink Slip on I found little to enjoy in S3, it simply is not what I signed up for.

      • Amrit says:

        I understand Chuck is entertainment and that is a fair point about only wanting to see that entertainment. You mentioned that chuck came across in season 1 and 2 as caring and thoughtful of other peoples feelings…well then how do we explain all the times he “dumped” sarah, not only did he break up with her or whatever he made out 2 or 3 times in front of her with jill, he was at times very immature, when he found out in broken heart that he and sarah had cameras on them the whole time, he apologised to her for sharing his feelings when maybe he should not have but he never ever really seemed to grasp how much pain she kept to herself just so that he could unload on her when he needed to, everytime he whined or got upset she never said hey look you cannot do that because there are cameras on…he did not I think respect her personal sacrifice. Also I think there were things in season 3 that showed us a part of chuck that we never saw before the series started…like his lack of self esteem, the way he let his life stall for years while he was stuck in the buymore, why did he never accept the supervisor promotion and being that he is a genius take the manager position and then head office position…etc? It may sound cruel but up until Final Exam one could view that Chuck had brought all of this onto himself…perhaps…if he did not see being a spy as a way of getting all those lost years where he thought he was a loser because he wasted them back then maybe he could have accepted sarah’s offer in prague…and if sarah had not been as she said in season 1 someone who did not like to talk then maybe chuck would have not gone off to be a spy…if she took a chance and talked to him…etc….as I said some people could say that Chuck and Sarah paid the price for their character weaknessess….I guess it is all down to perspective in the end of the day……I do enjoy seasons 2 and 4 a lot because of the breezy fun and the huge entertainment that chuck and sarah and the show itself provides, but I like season 3 because it showed us that ultimately these people are human beings that are just as prone to failure as any of us…

      • atcDave says:

        Yes Amrit you can argue all actions were in character; but my point is, many of us can argue the other side too. Those of us who despised S3 did not ONLY despise the entertainment value. There were major shifts in how the characters were portrayed too. So where you see depth and sophistication; I see inconsistency and flakey writing. I’m not interested in the characters or story I saw in S3; both the writing quality and characters themselves seemed juvenile to me. And that simply is not what I want to watch.

      • jason says:

        dave I am sticking to my theory, that someone – let’s give ali adler the credit until we we find out for sure – really did not like the direction the show was going – and made it their mission – to write the actual shaw character as cheesy, stupidly, cowardly, stalker – office boss sexual predator as possible – and essential reduced sarah to two words for about 7 eps – ‘yes daniel’. Add the fact so many writers left has me thinking some sort of in fighting was going on – my made up theory – fedak and schwartz were not in sync either, one liked the season’s idea far more than the other causing schwartz to sort of fade away in s4’s creation, leaving the show more and more in fedak’s hands – anyhow – had the show ended with 3×13 or even 3×19 (cause the last 4 s3 eps weren’t all that more joyful than the first 13 really, it would have been a shame, this way, more and more it will be a footnote to what will be considered a delightful little series about a goofy guy and his hot blond CIA handler / girl friend / wife.

      • Amrit says:

        But is that not the point of serialised storytelling? showing characters that can be juvenile and imperfect? There is a lot of that in season 4…like chuck and sarah talking about their relationship on a lot of their missions…or chuck going off with agent rye when he did not realised that the worst case scenario would be his and agent ryes death….to be fair to you I did not see anyone complain about agent ryes death even though it was totally chucks fault….and why did chuck go on this mission…he felt insecure and worried that not being a spy sarah would think less of him….hmmmm….fans excuse that because chuck and sarah are together and so everything was A OK…..laughable…lol…One thing I will say…no one in the chuck fandom watch Breaking Bad….Awesome series but no happy ending in sight…there never will be…

      • Amrit says:

        Jason the writers that left have been on record as saying that they would not have left if they were guaranteed work…plus they all (apart from Klemmer) got promotions where they either ran their own show or they were more involved with the creative process. Now about Shaw….we as a fandom hold the PLI’s to a very, very, very high standard because Chuck is so charming, charismatic, funny, sweet, adorable, honourable, etc….that it would be impossible for anyone to match up. I know people say that Bryce was better and so was Cole…but to be fair watching Matt Bomer on White Collar, I do like him…but having him on for so long would have grated a lot too and so would have Cole. They were ok in short bursts but they were so annoying as well as characters. Some of the deleted scenes they had with Shaw encouraging Chuck were very good, they just never used them. Sad I know…

      • atcDave says:

        I think i’ve been clear that my biggest beef with S3 WAS that Chuck and Sarah were not together. The fact i find it annoying on multiple levels only adds to my dislike. And there was a lot of complaining about both Chuck and Sarah’s behavior in Fear of Death. In fact, the whole “Intersectless arc” was not too well liked by many viewers. I’m okay with some of the insecurities and immaturity as long as it’s played for laughs AND resolved quickly. But when leading characters start doing major harm to each other for stupid reasons I am not amused.

        I wouldn’t say Breaking Bad has no support among Chuck fans, but I do know enough about it to know it’s a show I would never enjoy; so yeah, I won’t be investing any time there.

      • jason says:

        armit – I do corporate restructuring – I have fired hundreds of people – hardly ever were they fired technically – they left for better opportunities – that is sort of the way the world works – 4 seasons of chuck, only once did the whole writing team mysteriously get promoted – from a show that was not very successful – odds of that – pretty slim – but I don’t know what I said for a fact – if you read what I said – I said it was something I thought – a theory if you will – you are entitled to think differently

      • Amrit says:

        Did Ali Adler not tweet that one of her favourite episodes of season 3.0 was final exam?

      • atcDave says:

        And that’s part of why I don’t want to see her back…

        I’d say Final Exam is my least favorite, in at least a four way tie (Pink Slip, Mask, Fake Name, Final Exam). On some days of the week I might add another four to that list!

      • Amrit says:

        Well she did give two of the best episodes of the season….Honeymooners and Subway. Also she was the only writer to make an effort in three words to get chuck to explain his actions in pink slip. Maybe it is a little harsh to say you would not want her back Dave…..

      • atcDave says:

        She didn’t write the script for Honeymooners, only the outline. Fake Name is one of my most disliked episodes, and Three Words is a total lie. And she totally insulted my intelligence with her “love writer” video.
        Sorry, I know its an unpopular view even for a ‘shipper; but I’m not really an Adler fan. She wrote two dynamite S2 episodes (I’m not really a fan of her S1 work either), and nothing can diminish that; but I think most of the S4 writing team is better.

  16. ArmySFC says:

    the show in question is Bones. they have announced the show will fast forward to take in Emily Deschanel’s real life pregnancy.

    • atcDave says:

      That makes sense.

    • herder says:

      Problem is that the article says that Bones won’t be the only show doing a time jump, what we were speculating was about which show, besides Bones, would it be; Fringe, Glee, Chuck or some other show that has a one word title and has fanatic fans.

  17. CaptMediocre says:

    @atcdave,

    You said, ” … and FIVE episodes yet until the malfunction would be addressed.”

    IMO it was never addressed. Like much of the drama on the show, it simply goes “POOF”. (Not a popular opinion I knoiw) In fact most, if not all, of the S3 drama was never addressed. Same can be said for S4.

    • atcDave says:

      Well, I largely agree with your complaint CaptM; I guess I mostly meant addressed in the sense of having it go away. And since I never bought into that story line to begin with, I’m perfectly happy that it just went away.
      I’m not so sure what you mean about S4, I saw no such problem with this last season. I thought all major issues were addressed quite well.

      • jason says:

        i loved season 4 – one issue my feeble mind struggled with was the suppression device:

        1 – shouldn’t the line been your father ALWAYS wanted u to see this, but then again, if Orion had the device, wouldn’t HE have wiped chuck a long time ago?
        2 – if chuck (twice) and volkov were so easily wiped, wouldn’t morgan be a cinch?
        3 – I assume orion really did know (he had to really, volkov industires is a big company & orion was super duper smart) where volkov and mary were, why didn’t he and mary arrange to wipe volkov a long time ago?

        at one point I had another issue or two about the supression device, but that is it for now

      • Waverly says:

        1. Jason, my supposition regarding the suppression device is that it did just that. It suppressed the intersect from working; it did not actually remove the damage that the intersect causes. So it wouldn’t have really helped Chuck’s long-term health if Stephen had used this device.

        2. Yes, suppressing Morgan should be easy, if they have the device. What’s happened to it? But again, they really ought to de-intersect him.

        3. The bigger issue I wondered about is why Volkov didn’t suffer from the effects of the intersect. One answer is that it worked differently from modern-day intersecting. I agree, that seems like yet another plot hole/inconsistency that detracts from the fun of the series. But if we can come up with a good explanation, I’m all for it.

      • thinkling says:

        Waverly, I figure that the Intersect Hartley/Volkoff had in his brain was infinitesimal compared to what Chuck had in his brain. Chuck had all the US intelligence information from all the intelligence agencies. Hartley/Volkoff had only his own cover story, so it shouldn’t cause the same kind of problem.

      • JC says:

        The problem with the suppression device is S2’s story. No mention of any health issues were ever mentioned. It was about keeping Chuck away and out of the CIA. And even if we assume that Orion learned of health issue in between S2 and 3 Mary still knew where it was at and what it did. So it had to have been created before her Volkoff mission, so why not use on Chuck when he had the 1.0? Every season basically contradicts the other and it leads to these types of story problems.

  18. Amrit says:

    Jason I think he would not have used it because it was only a suppression device..that means the intersect would still be in chucks brain causing mental damage to it. I think what Mary said in First Fight was just a line to distract Chuck while she suppressed the intersect…I think she did it to stop Chuck from coming after her by handicapping him. As for why Orion and Mary did not wipe volkoffs mind a long time ago…my only guess is that the mission was only supposed to be 2 months yet the CIA had Hartley be Volkoff for years (at lease until Chuck was born and a kid) so who knows what Volkoff set up behind Mary’s back in order to keep her with him…she could have not come back home because she knew volkoff would track her and also she may not have been able to come back because even if she killed volkoff she did not know what information volkoff stored in his hydra network…there could have been information on Mary that Volkoff’s people could use to kill her if Volkoff were to die or dissappear…Tons of avenues to go down….

  19. Waverly says:

    I’d love to see team B, with Chuck operating with full intersect skills, save all of the Buy Morons in spectacular fashion. It would be particularly amusing to see Lester and Jeff be shocked at what Morgan can do.

    Now if Jeff got intersected, what could he do?

  20. joe says:

    Oh my! I’m kept away from the keyboard for a day and I see 150 comments that I have to read. I got as far as Ernie’s comment about David Byrne and his song “This Must Be the Place” before I realized that I have to do this when I’m fully awake. And I’m not, at the moment.

    So my apologies to everyone for not keeping up. You’d think I’d be used to seeing nothing but intelligent and even challenging discussions here. But it’s a constant source of pleasure.

    Thank you all.

  21. SarahSam says:

    There’s no doubt all of S3 wasn’t crap. Hey, I even enjoyed Nacho Sampler (ducks) I thought it was an excellent episode ,but to say that our couple were not ooc because of a creative strategy of “organic growth”, I just can’t agree with. TPTB can tell there story however they want and they certainly did. I know I received the message loud and clear of what Sarah/Shaw were in the back six. I just don’t agree that it was growth. Even after telling Shaw she didn’t love Chuck anymore ( and we did know it was a lie, as did he) she was still going to Washington to live with him. She told Chuck about the “commitment” in Other Guy and does anyone think Shaw cared about love as long as he had her? He never said he wanted more, he was just trying to get laid. Chuck and Sarah had passed their PLI tests. Chuck was willing to die to protect Sarah and Sarah was willing to give up everything she has known her entire life to protect Chuck ( he said it himself in Honeymooners). These facts were present at the beginning of S3 , so regressing from where the characters were and devising angst out of creative fear is just conventional Television storytelling that IMO, these great characters did not deserve. It’s why they deemed some of S4 , (the intersectless arc including the great Phase Three) as necessary. It was a missed opportunity to strengthen the show and maybe get some of the budget restored and that would have certainly helped the creative quality. To paraphrase the Eagles ” You see it your way, I see it mine but we both see it slipping away.” Sad indeed. I just hope that that the final 13 are Ruthian in scope.

    • joe says:

      Hi, SarahSam. Nice to see you here again!

      I just happened to re-watch Nacho Sampler yesterday, so this is timely. I’m sort of struck by the same things Amrit and Rev pointed out. The way I see it, they did a good job of showing Sarah’s growing disenchantment with the spy-life leading up to this part of the story. In Prague, Sarah explicitly says that she wants to be “real” again, and lemme tell you, when you see her say that line hours after telling Chuck (in The Colonel) that “It is real!” instead of months later, it’s revealing. Sarah wanted out; she already feels like she’s trapped by the spy life. The only word I can find to describe it now is anguish.

      And of course, Nacho Sampler is all about how Chuck is now a spy (or as Casey says, “Our boy is all grown up.”). He’s burned Manoosh, and Sarah can’t help but think that it’s all her fault (or, at least, he’s doing it for her). Chuck has become exactly who she was before she strolled into the Buy More the first time, thinking “Piece of cake”, and she hates it more than he does.

      You may be right that going from this point to “the back six” isn’t growth for Sarah, and man, it’s more painful for me to watch than the last time. (As Dave would say – it’s no fun at all.) But I can’t say any more that Sarah’s apparently growing distance from Chuck looks OOC to me. The whole thing seems far more intricate and painful than it did to me the first time.

      Now, Sarah becoming “committed” to someone we know is trying to destroy her (by destroying Chuck, no less) is another thing entirely. And I’m going to reserve my opinion-revisioning on that until I re-watch that part. But I don’t think anything here is as simple as Shaw “just wanting to get laid.” From my POV, he’s set a trap and Sarah was uniquely vulnerable to it. For me, if S3 fails it’s because all the subtlety was lost when the story line was drawn out and we were forced to endure Shaw and the separation of Chuck&Sarah for (at least) one extra arc.

      But that’s just me pontificating again. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        It is possible Joe if Sarah’s feelings as you describe had been the extent of the S3 arc that I would have ultimately been far more accepting of it. But the looming Sham just cut so deep I can’t accept any part of the story now.

      • jason says:

        joe – that is the thing – was there anything on tv that gave us ANY indication of shaw’s motives as setting a trap or anything other than he wanted to date sarah – who could blame him? I just viewed him as wanting sarah and her liking him. Isn’t that more or less what fedak tried to explain between final exam and hero when he said shaw and sam were getting closer, and that in some universe they were the perfect couple? But an on screen trap set by shaw – I did not see it.

        I have a lawyer friend who is now 55, but well into his 40’s told girls he was in his 20’s, he lived in a large college town, every weekend he went to the college bars. Shaw reminded me quite much of my friend (they are about the same size), sort of just making himself available, throwing out a few lines (he was so handsome and heroic, any line would do – hence the so-called genius of the desert line) and leaving with the girl – I think from a popular with the starlets hollywood showrunner’s POV Shaw and Sam makes total sense – for the avg joe on the street who had invested in the story about an average joe on the street making progress with a not so average world class model / spy / superstar, the story made not so much sense – hence all the theories made up to explain.

        I read some whoppers of theories again today – a topic that won’t go away

      • CaptMediocre says:

        Joe,

        I’ll disagree with you. If there’s one thing that WASN’T done in S3 was show Sarah’s story from Pink Slip through Other Guy. It was lost it looks and expressions with NO pertinent dialogue, and left for the fans to figure out.

        Yes, the show is called “Chuck”, Frankly, I don’t care and I think that is a very weak excuse. Ask Ernie to put a poll up to see who everyone’s favorite character is. Sarah will win. People go on about “character growth”. Sure we saw Chuck become a spy in S3, but we NEVER saw Sarah become more human. For that to happen she would actually have had to have some meaningful dialogue. (BTW any dialogue with Sh** doesn’t count because he was meaningless, TPTB made sure of that).

        I know I go on about drama not being paid off, but you cannot have 12.5 episodes of heavy angst layden “drama” (I use the term loosely) with next to no dialogue between the two main characters and expect DYLM to solve all the problems. It unsatisfying.

        My hope for S5 is a just simpler story.

      • joe says:

        @Jason & @Captn; oddly, I really agree with you both. What we saw *was* both too subtle and way too much was left for us to glom onto later after the damage was done, and the stretched out nature of the scheduling was a poor excuse.

        Knowing what I know now and re-watching after all the facts are in, the one thing I can’t say is that the characters were inconsistent. And really, I don’t think that the concept was poor. It feels mangled to me now. In the season I have in my minds eye, the pacing is different, but that’s pure technique, and I’m not even an amateur at that game (so I shouldn’t criticize).

        The sadness and anguish they portrayed and put on screen remain, however. And that is something we either decide to accept or reject on our own. I can see why most reject it – I basically do too, because it’s not true to my experience. Like most everyone here, I’ve had to think too long and too hard to make sense of what both Chuck and Sarah went through separately, and I don’t always understand what they were thinking. I’m glad Chuck&Sarah ended their trip where they did, but it felt like a detour to me.

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t agree with some of your specifics SarahSam (Nacho Sampler may technically qualify as a well done episode; but it isn’t to my taste, I don’t like it) but I completely agree with your major conclusions. S3 just played like formula television; for two seasons I had thought Chuck was an innovative and daring show, S3 played like very cautious writing aimed at pleasing the television gods (wt/wt must continue until the bitter end…)
      Fortunately they got their mojo back for S4; they are doing something uncommon in television now, writing a couple who will overcome all obstacles to be together.

  22. Amrit says:

    Is it OOC when the writers show you a side of a character that you do not want to see? I see that on a lot of shows, fans say it is OOC when a character does something that is not endearing or special or meaningful….if a character demonstrates a flaw that is totally within character suddenly it is OOC….suddenly the writers do not know how to write for a show that THEY created. It may not be what some fans signed up for, but it is a part of serialised storytelling. Oh and another thing to some fans who hate serialised storytelling and would prefer standalone…if CHUCK was a standalone series we would never have gotten the character growth that we got, chuck would still be in the car and sarah would still be his handler and other stuff….and to be honest it would be a show that I would not want to watch! that would be boring!

    • Rev says:

      People are complex, naturally they have different sides of their characters. But take season three, and the whole pink slip/prague train station thing. Chuck talks about everything, no matter the moment, no matter the time, he talks. Now suddenly we are to believe that that man, who except for that one moment, always talks about everything, is not even respectfull enough of Sarah to give an explanation, while she is not only the love of his life, but is also there to sacrifice everything for him, that is OOC, no matter what way you spin it. Also they might have made a show, and the characters, but here’s the deal. There are writers that let the characters drive the story(which creates awesome stuff), and there are people that adapt the characters so that they get what they want. Season three falls in the second category.

      • Amrit says:

        But it could be argued (the train scene in Prague) that the Chuck who left Sarah with the tickets was the guy who broke up with her in truth or broke up with her in beefcake or broke up with her during the Jill arc…it could be the guy who turned up and said…hey I want to do something with my life that does not include abandoning my friends and family and abandoing what I want from life which is a purpose. It can always be argued that he should have given a great speech about not wanting to abandon his friends and family and life and also that since Bryce gave up their friendship and died for him that he owed it to the world to go through with the training, that he should have said that he has to stop running away from his life and hiding and stand up and be counted, etc, etc, etc. But heres the thing…he did not, he did what he did everytime he dumped sarah when something better came along and that is who Chuck was…a bit of a flakey individual. Thankfully he learned the consequences when he did not have sarah to cover for him with his family, when he did not have sarah to offer words of comfort, when he basically had to take this path alone….great stuff….lol

    • CaptMediocre says:

      @Amrit

      I’m curious, have you watched Chuck from the beginning (2007), one episode per week, or did you catch up on all the episodes in some sort of marathon session?

      The issue with the first 13 is that, even to this day, nearly everyone saw a different overall story. Far too much of the first 13 is wide open to different interpretations (honestly, no snarkiness intended, I didn’t see the same show you were watching). If TPTB are leaving the story for the fans to finish and try and make sense of (and they did, somewhat in S2, a lot in S3 and again considerably in S4), they haven’t done their job.

    • atcDave says:

      I think even those of us who prefer more episodic story-telling have been clear and consistent in saying that isn’t meant to be an absolute thing. Most modern television is some sort of hybrid in that regard. Even the procedurals have continuing story elements and character growth. The point of saying we prefer episodic is that every show should be (mostly) self contained and not have a cliffhanger every week. There is no doubt I wanted (from the very beginning) to see Chuck grow into his new spy world. And Chuck and Sarah growing together as partners, friends, and lovers was THE major hook from the very start. I also know I’ve been consistent in voicing this position; its not fighting fair to criticize my position by misrepresenting what I said.

      I think rev summed up a lot of the OOC argument nicely. But its not JUST about what these characters would or wouldn’t do. A big part of my objection is purely the entertainment issue. I have no interest in watching a character I used to like act like a slime-ball. It doesn’t matter if you can convince me he might have done a bad or stupid thing; I don’t want to watch it. I am a very selective TV viewer, and I drop shows that disappoint me too much. I REQUIRE a protagonist I can relate to and root for. If the protagonist acts like a jerk I loose interest. Very simple. Chuck S3 crossed into that territory. I did not like that Chuck from Pink Slip until Beard; and I didn’t care for S3 Sarah until Other Guy. You can call it good drama all you want, but it fails MY entertainment test and I don’t want to watch it. The fact that Chuck and Sarah both behaved in ways that struck me as grossly out of character from the first two seasons is just another strike against; I don’t even consider it good drama.

  23. Amrit says:

    I have watched Chuck from the begining…so every episode once a week. To be honest in the beginning of season 3 I was a little Pissed as well at the direction they took and the Prague train station but then I realised that I was thinking like a “fan” and not a show runner or writer. I was thinking about what I wanted to see and not what I needed to see in order for the story or the character journey make sense. I like most human beings when thinking of the past does so through rose tinted glasses…I kept saying when watching live this is not Chuck or Sarah (it was Casey he was awesome)..I kept asking who are these characters because I only remembered their good attributes…but then when I thought about their weaknesses and other stuff it put the story in perspective…when I saw them as flawed people who still had to grow up then I accepted the story much better.. not to say they did not make mistakes the creative team, I mean shaw was a miscast and the name thing will always bother me but I accept that…

    • joe says:

      Wise words, Amrit. Very wise.

    • Rev says:

      Here’s the thing, they could have easily shown the human weaknesses in the characters without doing the whole WT/WT crap. Just imagine Chuck and Sarah struggling together with his choice to become a spy, struggling together with him changing, etc. It would have been so much better.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Rev I agree a million times over.

      • thinkling says:

        Ditto from me, too, Rev. So many things were contrived to shoe-horn one more geometric figure where it just didn’t fit. In doing so they undermined the story that was there to tell.

        One huge difference between PS and Chuck’s previous breakups (which are being used as justification in this thread for the apocalypse that was Pink Slip) was the motivation. Chuck’s stated motivation for past breakups was that their relationship wasn’t real or that it never would be, and if it couldn’t be real, they needed to break up. Sarah’s offer to run with him after the 2.0 upload was predicated on the one thing that Chuck explicitly stated he always wanted … a real relationship with Sarah.

        The game had changed, but there’s nothing in their previous character that would predict such outright, unexplained betrayal. Thus the contrivance: the interrupted dance, Bryce dying before explaining, only time for a 20 second talk about running away, no talk at all at the train station. The only reason for all of this set up for the apocalyptic breakup was to clear the plain for more triangles.

        I can see the change of positions creating a new challenge to their being together. In that new paradigm abandoning all things fake and starting with “real” friendship and partnership and working through the challenges would have been more believable and would have (IMO – only my 2c) made a stronger story … and a far better romance.

        So Rev and Dave, I agree. No one should be too shocked.

      • ladycat713 says:

        My first thought as to why they would be seperated at the beginning of season 3 was Sarah’s freakout over Bryce’s body being taken away , her not telling him she was staying after saying she was leaving with bryce and him thinking she was only willing to be with him because Bryce was dead. That would have been a great way to keep them seperated and work thier way back together without the horror of PlI’s .

        I at least understand a little Chuck being with Hannah even though he behaved badly because she showed up in his life after he overheard Sarah’s response to his explanation video was to ask for a transfer. She was open and honest with him and was willing to make the effort.

        The biggest differences between the Sarah/Shaw and Chuck/Hannah that made Chuck/Hannah more acceptable to me . was that one you could see what made Hannah appealing (even with the stalker like bits) but with Shaw you couldn’t Plus Chuck didn’t give Hannah anything he wasn’t perfectly willing to give Chuck, Sarah otoh gave Shaw what she had denied Chuck. And even after Chuck and Sarah were together she made him work for what she gave Shaw so easily.

    • CaptMediocre says:

      Ahh, but I am a fan, not a writer or showrunner. So yes TPTB can certainly tell the story they want, but they shouldn’t have to include commentary with the episode for the fans to understand it.

      Also, IMO, in humanizing the characters they ruined the something special (i call it the “epicness”) that they had. It left with the train in Prague and can never come back – sad really. We had been shown characters that would never have turned away from each other for 2 season, now that’s not necessarily the case. Are they human? – sure. Are they better characters? – Not IMO.

      • Amrit says:

        So they would never turn away from each other in 2 seasons….when Chuck reintersected in the finale Bryce told him that Sarah was going to stay and not go with him…did Chuck not turn his back on Sarah then? Remember at the time he did not know that Sarah and Casey had been captured, he could have destroyed the intersect (from his POV) left the room and started a normal life with Sarah…but he did not…why?

        @Rev

        That is what they are doing now if Chuck and Sarah have problems they work them out as a couple, but the current problems in season 4 were not really fundemantal problems with their characters just smaller ones. Chuck feeling like a worthless loser spanned years and he said that at the end of pink slip, it got to him feeling like a loser, he did not think he deserved sarah’s love (since Standford(Pink Slip))…Sarah going through the motions with other spies and through highschool…she had been doing that for her whole life and if she was a well rounded character she would tell chuck that she does not need him to be a spy, etc……deeply, deeply damaged people. If they cannot get their lives together and admit in the beginning of season 3 what they want and do not know how to maturely get it (I mean running away was never going to really work, not with Chuck not being able to see his sister or best friend) then them being together would be like the blind leading the blind…it would be worse having to watch two characters in a relationship that neither really wants. A relationship where nothing is real and they have to keep doing things that they do not want to do for people who are not very understanding people and not nice….What we got was well rounded individuals who were confident enough in who they were to be able to give everything up (American Hero). I understand why people hate the arc, I do, but then again I LOVE BREAKING BAD, so I guess I have the kind of brain that enjoys angst and characters going through hell…it is exciting stuff…lol

      • thinkling says:

        Nobody said the solution was for him to run with her. Obviously he needed to become a spy, and they needed to mature in their relationship. Working through things together and growing from the platform of friendship would have been the stronger story (where they actually could have grown and worked through things), as opposed to shattering their relationship for the sake of putting them with other people, in a storyline that contributed to neither their growth nor the story’s progress.

        As it was they did not work through the issues at all, not really. Sorry, but Sarah didn’t work through anything. She shut herself off, and there really wasn’t any appreciable growth for her. Chuck muddled through some training, tripped and fell a lot, became a totally unlikable character, failed his final exame, became a spy but not the Intersect the gov’t wanted (which is a good thing), and got his badge. They had a few good moments here and there, but I don’t see that the misery arc produced well rounded individuals. It dragged then through the mud and then magically made Chuck a spy and put them together … no resolutions or working through much of anything. Whew, glad that’s over with.

        TPTB are the show runners and can tell the story they want, the way they want. And I get the story they told and the one they tried to tell. However, what they delivered was ill-conceived, poorly executed, and resoundingly rejected. Calling it brilliant is a protestation I can’t swallow.

        I think S3 could have told a great story. As it was TPTB let their pet love triangles sabotage their story.

        I know this is a bit ranty. I can make sense of S3, but I can’t give it any real praise.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll ditto most of Thinkling’s comments (yes I know, I do that a lot) and add; We all get that the seeds were planted for this in Ring. In fact, since the day Pink Slip ran we’ve all acknowledged that Ring was sort of the first episode of S3, it clearly did set up what was to follow. But that doesn’t in any way change my judgement of the season. As Thinkling was saying, I can understand what they were trying to do; but I reject it on several levels, from it not being faithful to the characters we previously knew, to be fundamentally too dark for my taste. Even if I were unable to find logical or character inconsistencies in the story, I would still reject it as simply being far too bleak for me. In fact, if it were better written it almost be worse for me; because as it stands now I can at least make fun of some the clearly manipulative and unimaginative writing I saw (gee, how many triangles was our socially awkward nerd a part of?)

      • Amrit says:

        @thinkling

        How can you say Sarah never worked through anything? She was more emotionally open then at any time during seasons 1 and 2. I mean consistently open, she stuck up for chucks family in operation awesome, she voiced to chuck that she did not want him to go on a mission, in nacho sampler she freely admitted that she found chuck sweet and liked (loved) him, in mask she tried to give chuck a signal at the end, in fake name if you take shaw out of the scene you have Sarah admit she’s afraid to lose chuck, in tic tac she asked him not to lose himself for her, in final exam (again ignore shaw and just focus on Sarah and the message) she admits that she can never love a proper spy and she loves chuck. Now we can say that in season 1 and 2 we saw this in Sarah without the angst…..but did she verbalised it.ever in those 2 seasons? Sarah was very open and emotional with chuck…..maybe I am missing something.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course Sarah had previously mentioned she liked Chuck (Pilot), Chuck was sweet (First Date and Sansei), she would never let anyone hurt Chuck (Santa Claus), what they had together “was real” (Colonel), and she was ready to run off with him (Colonel AND Pink Slip). Any “growth” we saw from Sarah early in S3 was just redundant to what had come before, much like the whole triangle story line. And it felt more like retrograde movement because it was all filtered through Shaw. Sarah’s statement in Other Guy that she had fallen for Chuck felt almost like a bolt out of the blue in an S3 context; it really felt more like we’d just jumped back to late S2. It was sort of a cautious yet revealing statement that felt much like the sweet Chuck/Sarah moments of Colonel; and would have felt much more fitting in that context. In fact, given that Honeymooners starts with Chuck and Sarah on the train ride together, I’ll always believe that makes a far better 4.01 than Pink Slip ever did. It’s almost a seamless transition, apart from Morgan being aware Chuck’s dual life nothing else that happened in S3 is needed
        at all.
        As always, Amrit you are allowed to like whatever you want; but you cannot make a case for why S3 was “needed” in any empirical sense of the word. The “growth” you see simply doesn’t register as such with many of us. And the issues that should have been important for that season were drowned out by a dominating/distracting love triangle that made everyone involved look stupid and sucked every ounce of joy out of the show.

  24. herder says:

    Going back to the time jump thing and what I and others would like to see for season five, I have an idea. You could start out the season with where they were with Morgan saying “guys, I know kung fu”, lay out some of the issues with them starting their own private spy team and then (for Ernie) …musical montage of the next few months. Show them stocking Castle with equipment, Casey setting up the armory, Chuck and Sarah trying to train Morgan and Morgan failing, Chuck misdirecting the Nerd Herders as materiel goes down into Castle, Sarah setting up her new cover (travel agency) and the like. Then move into present time which will allow for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes too, maybe even birthdays for Clara, Chuck and Sarah.

    • herder says:

      Not cool to respond to your own post but I had a follow-up idea, set the montage to “our house” by Madness …”our house, was a castle and a keep”.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Herder, I was thinking along those lines too, a break for training and re-fitting castle, with Chuck more-or-less fully trained in the meantime also. But come on, Chuck and Sarah failing to train Morgan? No love for the little bearded Kato to Chuck’s Green Hornet? 😉

      (ducks thrown objects)

      I do however like the idea of Sarah having a cover job again. They’ll never quite regain the (somewhat wasted IMHO) potential of the Weinerliscious, where she had an actual job she had to preform at or be fired. But even back to O-O days where she had to appear to have a normal job and interact with the general public, or Jeff and Lester, would be something.

      • herder says:

        Last year there was no need for a cover as the last ones they were trying to fool were Awesome and Ellie, this year depending on who knows what the potential people that have to be kept in the dark are; the Buy Morians, the CIA/Intelligence Agencies and maybe Ellie and Awesome. So what sort of cover does Sarah get, i was thinking something sort of professional that lets them continue to dress her up and something that would allow her to travel which was the idea behind Travel Agency, but I’m open to suggestions; Belly Dance instructor, Model, Krav Maga instructor/competitor.

      • thinkling says:

        I was thinking something sort of professional that lets them continue to dress her up and something that would allow her to travel

        I agree with that, Herder. No more costumes. In S4 it was so nice to see Sarah have an actual wardrobe. Obviously she has to travel. So does Chuck, but he has managed to pull it off so far. I really kind of hope that their status of Buymore ownership remains a mystery.

        She could be a consultant … they can travel anywhere, keep their own schedule, and make a pile of money. Not only that the area of her expertise could fluctuate. It would be a double mystery for the Buymorians to solve: who are the new owners and on what (and with whom) does Sarah consult? Just to make it hilarious, she should give a wide range of answers … the more bizarre and varied the better. Some of her real skills could actually be revealed: martial arts, knife throwing, languages, etc. You know … really confuse their brains and stir their imagination.

      • joe says:

        Thinkling, do Jeff & Lester *really* need to have their brains more confused??? 😉

        Yeah, Ernie. I do sorta miss the salad days when Chuck & Sarah would have to hide from Scooter in the closet. [Insert canary eating grin here…] But before the O-O and Castle, the only place Chuck could interact with Diane would be in Casey’s apartment. That was hardly private, you know.

        See? You can only Duck for so long!

    • thinkling says:

      I like that Herder. I like the montage idea, but you left out the newlywed passion parts (that would actually be a good way to include some passion without dwelling on it).

      Some of what I would like to see in the immediate aftermath (first few days) would be the Buymore buzz over the new owners and Jeffster’s determination to discover their identites, some initial TeamB strategy talks … like the talk they had in the basement together in Anniversary, MamaB included in TeamB talks, and whatever they are going to tell Ellie and Awesome.

      The article says, “Things are very different when the action picks up. A lot happens during that [skipped] time.” I’m not sure how different things could be … that’s the part that doesn’t seem to fit with Chuck. Unless it’s just that the new paradigm is very different from the old one.

      • herder says:

        You could also add something ominous to the montage, at the end you pull out and see that it is the General reviewing the footage of the security/spy cameras left in Castle, the Buy More and Casa Bartowski. Let’s face it the General has to be involved somehow be it for good or evil, maybe her motivations can be the ones called into question this year.

      • herder says:

        Also if the really want to get people going, have someone else in the room with her, somone who we cannot see, but they are flicking a metal cigarette lighter.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Wow Herder, I thought I was playing with fire with the Morgansect & Chuck team!! You need to back slowly away from the pile of TNT and put out the torch you are holding…

        I say Beckman is one of the few uncompromised by the conspiracy and is using Team B to thwart their evil plans, which is why she temporarily allows Walker to have her way with her Chuck. Once the conspiracy is defeated it’s a quickie divorce for Chuck and Sarah and a Vegas wedding for Duck in the last 5 minutes of the last episode.

      • thinkling says:

        Ha. I almost said that for GB’s first appearance, Chuck and Sarah could be cuddled on their new couch, obviously having just inaugurated it, and GB would suddenly appear on their new huge flat screen. But yours is better. And does the lighter belong to him who shall not be named or the smoking man from x-files? The cigarette lighter is always an ominous device. Cue scary music.

        I do wonder how GB will fit in. I’m not sure I want another motives arc. We just did that with MamaB. It could be a good twist if she turned out to be bad. Or maybe she was part of it. She became compromised by Chuck and has been playing both sides to save her Hyde (and job). In S5 she defects to the side of the good early on, because of their willingness to just let Sarah die. She seems to be on their side, by giving Chuck the key card to Castle and then the glasses with the Intersect.

      • joe says:

        Okay. This forces me to bring up my first real prediction for S5. Here it is!

        G’Becks is now on the run from Decker, because his evil plan is bigger than taking over the CIA and imprisoning Chuck. He wants the NSA and Casey under his control too. Diane’s the new, official damsel in distress, and it’ll take the combined efforts of TeamB, the Morgansect and the Buy Morons to save her from his evil clutches.

        There! Mark my words and bet the rent money.

      • thinkling says:

        GB as a defrocked general / National Intelligence Director / damsel in distress? That would be fun. Maybe she could be store manager and report to Chuck and Sarah. Periodically Chuck and Sarah could appear on her monitor. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I just hope they don’t go too far in making Beckman sympathetic. I liked how in Last Details she was snarky about not getting an invite. Even if she appreciates her best team, she doesn’t actually LIKE them!

      • jason says:

        I’m still rooting for beckman as the clever, enabling big bad – either her or stephen – or …. maybe the big bad will be kind of a benevolent big bad – i.e. a big good who has to do bad things to get chuck (and sarah) in the right spot at the end – wouldn’t that be fun – then stephen or beckman would be well ‘awesome’ fits

      • herder says:

        My thinking about the cigarette lighter was that it was a symbol of an organization, that they all get zippos as something to acknowlege each other in much the same way that Skull and Bones has something to identify each other. So Dekker would have one as would who ever the person in Beckman’s office was, a bit of an involved spec but there you go.

  25. jason says:

    http://www.tvline.com/2011/07/fall-tv-nbc-announces-premiere-dates-including-late-start-for-chuck/

    chuck is starting in october – oh well – might help get a thanksgiving and christmas ep, with the usual hurt chuck thru sarah meh dramatic ending arc sometime in january? I just wish once TPTB would hurt chuck by clobbering that talkative little elf instead of the sultry blond goddess.

    another thing I want to see in season 5 of chuck – how about NBC’s new hit ‘Sing Off’ gets less than a 1.0M demo on monday nights & chuck gets over 2.0M on Fridays – not likely, but since we are supposed to write about things we want to see – that is one for me!

    • herder says:

      I had read about the late start and later finish (February 3rd or 10th) a couple of weeks ago, I guess that I’m ok with that. Not wishing the Sing Off ill, after all it does have Ben Folds the creator of “Give me My T-shirt back you******, but it’s in strong comptetition on Mondays when it never has faced any and if there is no football, then all it’s viewers may stick with DWTS, CBS comedies or Terra Nova which is supposed to be the next big thing. Also with no football might we see Chuck on Sunday nights, after all with repeats Friday (before Oct 21) and Saturday nights NBC would be pushing it to have a third night of them.

  26. Gord says:

    Here’s my take on S3 for what its worth.
    I did not have any real problems with Pink Slip – yes granted Chuck (or rather the writers) could have handled the Prague situation better, but I had no real problems with there being some tension in the beginning of the season. In Angel and Op Awesome it seemed like Chuck and Sarah were slowly working through that tension and it appeared that we would see them progressing back to their former relationship – especially after the dinner scene at the end of Op Awesome.
    I actually liked what they did with Shaw in his first episode, I could see him playing the antogonist and thought all the talk of him being a PLI was just TPTB messing with us much like they did with the possible main character dying in Cliffhanger.

    However, from there things got messed up pretty bad with S3. My 3 biggest problems were that 1. we didn’t get to see enough Team Bartowski interaction it seemed to be more of the team members doing things on their own. Secondly,. the PLI’s were as stated by some, unnecessary in my opinion. They could have kept Shaw as Team Bartowski’s antogonist without him being a PLI for Sarah. They could even have set up the Sarah red test theme without him being a PLI. Finally they ran such a long string of depressing endings. I don’t mind the occassional episode being ended that way if it makes sense to the story but to end 9 out of 12 episodes that way (angel, Op Awesome and Beard being the exception) just didn’t fit with why a lot of fans watched the show. For S1, S2 and S4, I looked forward to the next episode with anticipation. In the early part of S3 I was reluctantly watching thinking that ok this will be the episode where they make things right. Now in hindsight I can watch any episode of S3 except Mask and Fake Name. Most of them are not great Chuck episodes, but they do have their moments. .

    • atcDave says:

      I mostly agree Gord, although I don’t choose to re-watch a few more S3 episodes than that. I think Shaw would have been a far more effective character without the LI nonsense. I don’t think I ever would have liked Pink Slip, but had they actually moved on from there (made good on the cleaning things up line from Three Words) I probably could have made my peace with it. I do agree about the downbeat endings. In fact, when we aren’t getting all wrapped up in the PLI discussions, I usually mention the dark/depressing theme of S3 as being nearly as big a problem. It really was, several of the casual viewers I know who actually stuck it out made comments about how they were tired of the depressing endings all season long. To me, those issues are linked, but I think a lot of viewers really see it as two different things; and the downbeat endings weigh even heavier than the relationship malfunction.

    • atcDave says:

      Oh and I’d add I think Shaw would have been far more effective as a partner/mentor turned traitor without the PLI idiocy. We might have even cared when he went bad, instead we were mostly just counting the days until he went away.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, the endings did get awfully depressing. I really think the removal of the LI’s would have fixed a lot of things. Like you said, Gord, in Angel and Op Awesome things were getting back on track between Chuck and Sarah. If that trajectory had been maintained, it would have made for a better season, danger – yes, potential darkness – yes, but with lots of hope because they would have been facing it and working through it together. The actual getting together could still have come much later, but building a “real” relationship would have been a logical story, and the end of Angel would have been the place to establish that.

        But I tend to agree with Dave that Shaw should have been a good spy/friend/mentor to all of TeamB, especially Chuck and Sarah. Then his betrayal would have mattered. However, no matter which way they took Shaw it would have played better without the LI aspect.

      • lappers84 says:

        Gord I think your spot on there, as hard as I think Pink Slip was for fans to watch it did get somewhat back on the right path by episode 4.

        Pink Slip: Team B reunited, Chuck and Sarah on speaking terms
        Three Words: Sarah hears Chucks reason for leaving her in Prague, they both promise to fix things
        Angel of Death: Sarah/Ellie conversation, Sarah comforting Chuck at the end.
        Op Awesome: Sarah defending Chuck from Shaw, Agreeing to be friends.

        Sadly it started going downhill from there, First Class wasn’t too bad but Nacho Sampler for me started showing the problems. The episode itself was pretty funny but when Chuck burned Manoosh (knowing he had to, even when Sarah agreed.) she was then shocked that he did it. Then she sat back and watched him drown his sorrows. (Aren’t they meant to be friends, why is she not over there with him?) And of course from then on all hell broke loose.

    • Big Kev says:

      Gord,
      I think you’re dead right. It took me a couple of episodes to get used to the change in tone and the new status quo of S3, but by the end of Angel de la Muerte, I was loving it. Yeah, Prague was a little manipulative, but Chuck had given Sarah his reasons at the end of 3 words, so I was happy with that. They’d ratcheted up the emotional intensity, which I loved, but were still bringing the comedy. Yeah, it was a bit darker, but hey, I’m a big boy – I don’t need every episode to be an ice cream cone.
      I loved Shaw’s entrance in Operation Awesome – great opening scene, enigmatic, plenty of potential. Enjoyed First Class and absolutely loved Nacho Sampler – the mirroring with episode 1 was brilliantly done.
      And then…..
      And then Mask, when TPTB blew what was looking like a fantastic season set up with a cliched PLI, the fandom went ballistic, and was fractured never to recover.
      I think much of the reaction to Mask and Fake Name was overdone and embarrassing to read at times, but there’s no doubt it was a terrible idea, poorly executed. I get that the Shaw part was originally written for Bryce, and to change your season arc with such a long lead time would have been virtually impossible to do – but it doesn’t change the fact that what we got on screen between Sarah and Shaw was awful.
      But for all that, the only episode I really can’t stomach is Mask. Fake Name was hard at the time, but it clicked for me after I watched it a few times, and I at least understood Sarah’s motivations and what Ali Adler was trying to do. Final Exam and American Hero had some rough patches in terms of what Sarah was doing, but overall, the PLIs were really my only issue. To be honest, my biggest beef with the whole season wasn’t even the PLI – it was bringing Shaw back in the back 6 and completely undermining the whole rationale for the denoument on the bridge. I’ll never be convinced that was the right decision – and I really hope they don’t do something similar with Papa B in Season 5. Flashbacks yes – but please, please don’t bring him back from the dead….

      • CaptMediocre says:

        The best description for Sh** I’ve ever heard was given by @happydayz3.

        She described Sh** as a DEMENTOR, an entity that just sucks the joys out of everything.

        If only I had practiced my Patronus spell some more.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        The best description for Sh** I’ve ever heard was given by @happydayz3.

        She described Sh** as a DEMENTOR, an entity that just sucks the joy out of everything.

        If only I had practiced my Patronus spell some more.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        Cool – double post. IDK how that happened.

        Apologies.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah the double post thing happens whenever you say something really important.

        …funny it never happens to me….

      • So, I came into this thread tentatively and was I right. S3 discussion FTW!!. Good thing I had already applied brain bleach as a precautionary measure. 😉 🙂

        @Captain – Did you have Snape/Umbridge as your teacher? 😉 RE: Patronus Spell not practiced well.

        *goes back to lurking*

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @Big Kev:

        Agreed. When Shaw returned at the end of S3, my reaction was “Why?” What was the point of all of the episodes that lead to the scene on the bridge in Paris, if you’re just going to bring him back again? What was the point of it all?

        I think that was a shark too far for me; I notice that since then, the problems that other people see in S4 just don’t bother me that much. Or maybe it is because I needed the escape so badly this past year.

        I agree completely in regards to Papa B: flashbacks would be fine, resurrection, no.

      • Gord says:

        Big Kev, for me the only two episodes of s3 I really have a hard time watching are Mask and Fake Name, but at least Fake Name was good up until about the last 10 minutes.
        As for what they were doing with Sarah from about Beard to American Hero I started calling her flip-flop Sarah – I love Chuck, I don’t love Chuck, I hate Chuck, I love Shaw…. her character was all over the place. In fact they could have used Dr. Dreyfus in those episodes – not for Chuck’s intersect problems but for Sarah’s bi-polar disease.

  27. Gord says:

    Thinkling, I agree with you and Dave with respect to him being a spy/friend/mentor. My label of Shaw as antogonist probably wasn’t the best word to use. What I meant by antogonist was that he was there to stir the pot and shake things up with team Bartowski.

    It’s funny that when they were promoting the character they called him a mentor for Chuck. Obviously TPTB have no concept of mentorship. A mentor is someone you trust, that gently pushes, nourishes and guides you – in other words the anti-Shaw.
    Also would have been quite happy if they stretched out the relationship growth. I did not need to see Chuck and Sarah together by 3.05, but I did think it would have been much better if they had slowly worked towards that goal.

    I was thinking they could have still added some angst in the sense that Beckman wanted Shaw and Sarah back in Washington, without it being something that Sarah wanted.

    That is a believable stressor with modern couples – a promotion/job opportunity, or even job imperitve to move to a new location, while the other half of the couple does not have that same opportunity to move.
    In other words – everything in Other Guy could have still worked without Shaw as PLI. .

    • joe says:

      Hi Gord. Nice to hear from you!

      I’m in the middle of the “misery arc” right now, and I see a lot here I agree with. When I think about it, I really like the idea of a mentor making Chuck into a spy and Sarah discovering that this is exactly what she doesn’t want to happen – ON PAPER. That part of it is actually pretty effective. But man, it’s true. Every ending seems so downbeat, it starts to become a drumbeat of doom, and those endings are all about the PLIs.

      There was one scene at the end of The Mask I had forgotten, where Morgan has just discovered Chuck and Hannah making out in the Buy More’s Home Theater room. He sees them and walks away with a look of disgust on his face. It’s perfect. It’s exactly what most of the fans were thinking at that moment, and what 99.44% of them were going to be thinking by the end of the next couple of episodes.

      It’s almost like TPTB were after the visceral reaction that they got.

    • thinkling says:

      Right Gord. The relationship progression unfolding over S3 with Chuck and Sarah working from real friendship forward would have been a good story to watch: organic growth through the challenges and drama from the situation of Chuck becoming a spy and all things CIA. There would still have been plenty of drama and challenge without the LI’s. By the time they got together, it would have felt like they grew to that point rather than being dropped there because it was episode 13.

    • atcDave says:

      You know Gord, I do think Chuck and Sarah should have been “together” right from the start of S3. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t have been obsticles, and you are exactly right about the different career paths as a potentially legitimate one they could have explored. While the LI path they chose garunteed all other issues would feel of lesser importance.

      Really good call on how Shaw was not a mentor!

      • lappers84 says:

        Shaw was a complete tool. Had he had an ounce of something it certainly could have been a little more interesting than the misery we did get.

  28. lappers84 says:

    I do love that every discussion on here somehow regresses to how poor season 3 was. I think Dave you need to copy and paste all your responses since you seem to end up posting the same thing about season 3, lol. Anyway back on the subject of what I’d like to see in season 5.

    – I like my mythology, so I’m hoping we get to see some explanation to some of the arcs from the series that never got properly explained (Project Omaha, Project Isis etc.) even to a degree what Shaws involvement was (I’m wondering if Graham had Eve Shaw killed because she stumbled on something fishy within the CIA). Whether we get a proper explanation in 13 episodes I don’t know but one can hope.

    – I’d like to see once in a while, some guy or girl trying to hit on Chuck/Sarah and how it’s handled. Like in Undercover Lover when one of the russian bad guys tried to touch up Sarah he ends up getting his thumb broken (maybe something similar but at the end with her saying something like “Sorry, I’m married”)

    – A return of some old face. There’s been lots of talk about Papa B coming back (and I think Scott has shown interest in returning in some form.) or maybe Jill comes back and we see how she’s been since she went on the run at the end of First Kill. Certainly a few possibilities for that.

    – Family Gatherings/Game Night. I do miss those, sure there’s plenty of them in FF but I’d still like to see more on screen. Chuck and Sarah snuggling on the couch along with Ellie/Devon and Morgan/Alex playing a board game or something. Or of course another Christmas episode which would end with the family together.

    – A few more Chuck/Sarah moments, sure we had some nice ones in season 4 but most seemed to lack much passion. (maybe a supply closet moment.) 😉 Another thing I noticed was that the Charah theme was only played once in the whole of season 4, so hopefully more of that please. Perhaps use it when Chuck is comforting Sarah after her encounter with he mother. Again one can hope.

    • herder says:

      I’d like to see a return of Dekker, the cleaner from Cliffhanger. He was a good adversary, tough, threatening and competent. One thing that interests me is that he was brought in because Chuck’s persuit of Hartley and his attempts to save Vivian would expose the CIA’s role in creating Volkov via an early version of the intersect. Then he goes on to goad Chuck with the idea that what has happened to him isn’t an accident or coincidence, that everything including Shaw was guided or directed.

      My question is guided or directed by whom? If Dekker represents the CIA, then they are the ones doing it and presumably the General would have some hand in this operation. If he represents a rogue faction of the intelligence services how are they different from Fulcrum. Do we end out going back to Chuck’s Chart to figure out some of the relationships between the various players to figure out who this shadowy organization is.

      This would encompass your dropped mythology arcs, the return of old faces, and could lead to a team Bartowski vs the world attitude making family gatherings both more common and more important.

      • thinkling says:

        I love the whole conspiracy angle. It’s definitely a prime opportunity to connect the dots.

        Decker should come back and get killed (by?) before he can tell them anything about who is pulling his strings.

        Fulcrum and the Ring were in Decker’s list of things that weren’t an accident. So I see the PM (and his group) as controlling all of them for some master nefarious purpose. Is it an off-the-books way of achieving US/intelligence goals, or is it a rogue group with their own agenda? Did they engineer the Intersect glitch that created Volkoff, to control the flow of weapons around the world, as part of their master plan? So many possibilities.

    • atcDave says:

      Sorry about being repetitive, I call it “refining my argument!”

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @atcDave:

        Heh, Refining Your Argument….Wait, this is another ditto post, isn’t it?

        Bugger.

        I still think you’re right, though.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey, some arguments need A LOT of refining!

    • Gord says:

      I can’t argue with your list, but just want to point out that in undercover lover that poor russian bad guy had two bandaged wrists and then got his butt kicked by her at the end as well. It was sort of the first “does anyone else want to be my boyfriend?”
      Don’t mess with Sarah Walker or her Chuck.

      With respect to family, I really hope we get a Christmas episode this year, with Mama B and perhaps even Papa B (even if only in a flashback of the two of them with little Chuck and Ellie opening presents around the tree). Those family moments are so heartwarming, whenever you get them you feel good for the rest of the evening and usually the next day too.

      • joe says:

        A Christmas episode – of course! That’s exactly what was missing from our lists, Gord.

        Gee. For all the (ahem) discussions we’ve had over S3, the strife, pains and sorrows of geometry 301, that’s never really been at the heart of the show. The much more rare Christmases, Mother’s Days, Thanksgiving and Halloween dinners are.

        Yvonne tweeted a birthday greeting to Bailey (she’s 10, now) just the other day. I couldn’t resist tweeting her back “That’s what makes you great.”, stealing her line from The Ring pt. 2. It’s like that.

        It’s those little things, the ones that slip by in an instant that have made the difference in my enjoyment.

      • atcDave says:

        yeah Gord I agree entirely about those family scenes. Its always one of my favorite parts of Chuck, and it leaves me with a warm and fuzzy feeling for days…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m going to be even more greedy. I want the Halloween (complete with Bartowski complex courtyard Halloween party and sexy costumes), the Thanksgiving, the Christmas, and the Valentines episode this last season, and the schedule is set up perfectly to provide them all. They can toss in New Years or Sarah’s birthday at their discretion.

      • thinkling says:

        I keep forgetting to amen Sarah’s birthday. I really! want! Sarah’s birthday! It’s one of those real girl loose ends that needs to be tied up.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Gord. That was one of my favorite parts of Undercover Lover. I hadn’t connected it with Phase 3, though. Good one. How do you say Does any one else want to be my boyfriend in Russian?

  29. jason says:

    I disliked s3 as much as any fan here – I only watched 3×17,18,19 once each, and probably never will watch another season 3 ep except for 14 & 15. It is possible I coined the phrase misery arc – which I now have expanded when I blog to ‘misery SEASON’.

    But, one of the most gruesome things last season for me was the notion chuck would get cancelled without the chuck and sarah story ever getting told. To that end, s3 bothers me significantly less now than it did, as indeed the chuck and sarah story is getting told complete.

    IN 3×9, Chuck committed to Sarah, all in, no more hand wringing. We have had 34 episodes since then, and even when sarah does something that throws chuck for a loop, he does not waiver.

    Sarah followed suit in that commitment in 3×13 & has amped up her passion with each challenge about ‘her’ Chuck ever since.

    And, for whatever the reason, since Paris, not only have Chuck and Sarah been ‘all in’, but more importantly, Fedak, Schwartz & the writing team have been ‘all in’, no hand wringing or waivering, on the Chuck / Sarah love, partnership, and trust – I can’t recall a single morbid or cringeworthy thing about the ‘Charlessssss’ since …. and for me, that has been awesome – makes me proud to be a fan.

    Here’s to the whole thing getting finished up with that same aplomb in season 5!

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with most of that Jason; I think a big reason for going ballistic over S3 was the very real possibility that it would be the end of the line, without ever even getting to the story I wanted to see. I am really thankful we’ve had 30 episodes now that are what I was hoping for, and I’m excited for the coming of S5!

      • jason says:

        dave – if u get a chance, watch ‘500 days of Summer’ – it made me appreciate s3 and sarah’s pov more, not perfectly but more. It is a movie about love, soul mates, etc, but has a very different twist as it might apply to chuck and esp to sarah. From chuck’s (hence our) pov sarah was his soul mate, but from sarah’s pov at the end of s2, chuck may not have been … a montage was played in the movie of all the hints we as an audience were given (and at least I ignored) as to what is going on up to that moment, I was mostly confused much of the movie until the movie more or less hit me over the head and told me what was going on

        Similarly, a montage of sarah moments in how she treated chuck s1/s2/s3 certainly could be made to cast doubt, how she reacted to bryce all 3 times (even though she picked chuck, she had doubt & hurt chuck each time – right), again reacted to cole, as well as reacted toward shaw – lets face it, Shaw got under her skin right away, long b4 he started the office predator routine, and just how often she told him she did not care.

        For that matter, chuck did his share of hurting sarah with his faux breakups, ignoring (well lets say missing) some of her not so subtle advances at times, and jumping on near any brunette he could lay his hands on too, a montage of times chuck hurt sarah in s1/2/3 could easily show us that chuck had his own set of doubts.

        But thankfully, unlike the movie, all doubt finally was cast aside in ep 3×13, and CS found in each other what they were looking for, and once again, the story moved forward.

        anyhow, check out ‘500 days of summer’ – I’m thinking your wife will like it too if u watch stuff like that together.

      • atcDave says:

        I can’t tell from your description Jason, is it an upbeat ending or no? My wife’s even more insistent about that than I am.

      • joe says:

        Jason, that’s an important observation.
        I haven’t seen that movie, but I think I understand. This is really too personal an observation to profound, but perhaps it’s got some general applicability. Chuck starts out as our adolescent selves (if you’re a guy, anyway), full of fantasies about being a hero, getting the girl and saving the day. He’s also full of insecurities because reality is teh sux.

        Regardless of how it seemed to him, Chuck was always prepared to say, about Sarah, that she was just too good to be true and that he was dreaming. She could have assured him until the cows came home that “it was real”, but Chuck wasn’t going feel sure about that for a long time. Gee – most all of S1 and S2, and even parts of S3 were about that.

        I think that translates to a need for the fans and viewers to share that doubt. It had to be put “on screen” in some subtle way, and TPTB were just incredibly lucky that Yvonne could do that perfectly, with or without Bryce (and Cole and $h@w) to play off of. I know that, if anything, I should have stopped doubting Sarah’s commitment to Chuck earlier than I did.

      • JC says:

        Won’t touch the S3 talk but 500 days of summer is great. Its probably one of the few movies that captures the idea that you’ve met the one and really haven’t. It sounds depressing but it hits all the right notes for most anyone who’s gone through what the characters did.

      • jason says:

        dave – I really like the end, left me satisfied, the begin of the movie is std romcom, then all of a sudden, I was watching fringe as the movie kept jumping around in time, then with 5-20 minutes remaining I started to somewhat painfully put everything together, but the end was great yet different than I expected – anyhow, the payoff is how much about chuck I felt I learned from the movie – don’t you think my attitude toward s3 is different the last few days?

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @Jason
        @JC

        Sorry, guys, but I didn’t see what you saw in 500 Days of Summer. Saw it last night on HBO, and it just came across as a bit strange and somewhat confusing.

        But if it takes the bad taste of S3 out of your mouth, more power to it.

      • jason says:

        VV – yea – I agree about strange and hard to follow – although the beginning was pretty std, the middle was really all over the place – but the scene where the little sister says something to the effect ‘was it really that great’ followed by a montage of all the bad we had been shown (and at least I missed) – I thought that was really clever – but I do understand your POV – it was strange and hard to follow – LOL

        I simply thought after watching 500 days, that if one slowed down s1/s2/s3 of chuck, there really was plenty of on screen bad about chuck towards sarah and sarah towards chuck all along ….. something I dismissed or missed when I watched it live – my thinking was CS were a fairy tale couple long b4 the apt or paris, I am not so sure TPTB intentionally wrote the show that way – it is just that more than a few fans saw the show that way. But, even if so, the problem with s3’s LI’s is fans had to make up the ‘why’ as I did here, the on screen ‘why’ was never told or sold directly, and was implied at the very best cryptically. Makes for great blogging I guess!

    • Gord says:

      Jason, I find it interesting that you had problems with the last 3 episodes, I thought they were the best of the season – after Other Guy/Honeymooners. I thought Shaw as evil Shaw was a much better character and it was so satisfying to see Chuck kick his butt and Team Bartowski take down the ring. I also loved how Ellie finally found out that Chuck was a spy.

      For me everything from American Hero until the end of S3 was good to great.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m in between on that. Shaw was vastly better as a villain than as a …..whatever. But I would have been happiest to just never see him again. Honeymooners is the only S3 episode I actually make a point of re-watching.

      • thinkling says:

        I’m in between, too. Yes, he was better as a villain, but his return robbed Chuck a little of his hero moment. Bleh. I would have preferred he stayed dead, but it would have been hard to come up with a new big bad for the epic final … he was convenient.

      • atcDave says:

        I suppose that is one problem with the shortened back-order; there wasn’t much time for establishing a new baddie.

      • Rev says:

        Wouldn’t have been that hard to create a decent baddy, had they not spent all their time trying to make us miserable with the whole PLI thing. Establish the Ring as a far more viable threat like Fulcrum was, and you can easily insert random agent, like for example Roark, to create an epic season final. Just my opinion.

      • jason says:

        gord – grading season 3 eps, honeymooners A+, role models B, the rest I have very little interest in. I did not sign up to watch the show ‘Daniel’ – when he rose from the dead in the last 4 eps of season 3, he sucked the joy right out of the show again, the last 4 eps were morbidly serious – and I think ruined any chance for the show to get it’s balance and mojo back. Plus, those last 4 eps really showed the lack of budget, terrible green screens, the ring turned out to be nothing more than some touring set visitors from an old age home shot in a stairwell with ‘Daniel’ and big scary ‘Jason’, the ellie / awesome in africa and with the baddie jason (who seemed more like a character on “friends” than a big bad) really did not do anything, stephen’s execution had no plot, no cleverness, no reason, other than ‘Daniel’ got to show he was evil – a recurring theme in s3 – write a terrible story around ‘Daniel’s’ lack of acting skills.

        I did NOT appreciate the humor over sarah and daniel’s love affair in those last eps, but again, write a story to make sure ‘Daniel’ got his due.

        I also did not appreciate or ever understand Chuck’s constant lying, which ruined what might have been / should have been one of the best scenes ever in the show, when sarah vinally said ILU to chuck.

        Did I mention I did not enjoy that ‘Daniel’ was forced back onto the audience, after his ‘miserable’ introduction in an arc that got named after him, the ‘misery’ arc. Matter of fact, ‘Daniel’s’ return turned the misery arc into the misery season – how is that!

      • Rev says:

        Oh absolutely Jason, the lying in the last half of season three was definitely one of the worst things on the show, I hate that perhaps even more than Shaw himself. Agree with the rest you are saying as well btw.

      • atcDave says:

        While I didn’t hate the lying nearly as much as I hated the triangles, I would agree it was the worst element of the back six. And I see the “no lies, no secrets” rule of S4 to be a pretty good indicater TPTB were listening to us about it. I count that as a victory.

  30. Amrit says:

    I know as fans we give or gave schwedak a lot of crap about season 3, well I just read a 4 part interview that dan harmon did with the a v club. Let’s just say thankfully we have them and not him! Make no mistake I love his show, but he yells at his people, he cries when network executives or the studio critique his work, he drinks loads and he is one man who does not care what fans really want. I think fans should bear that in mind when being overly critical……the sad fact is what fans want usually comes last, it is the advertisers who pay the network, the network who pay the studios, the studio who give the runners a hard time…… Fans should be more understanding…..

    • atcDave says:

      Its not surprising that many writers (“artists”) are only interested in their own vision, and don’t really care what anyone else’s input might be. In some cases that may make for a certain level of consistency or purity in the story telling. But of course, it only works when the artist’s vision and yours (as a watcher, reader, whatever) line up closely enough that you can enjoy their vision. I think in many cases those sorts of writers are destined to simply be life-long hobbyists because there is not an adequate market for their product. Don’t get me wrong, in some ways hobbyist is a beautiful thing. I build model airplanes; for myself. I don’t have to worry about if my color interpretation, level of detail, weathering, or technical correctness are acceptable to anyone but me. But if I really wanted to sell my models I would likely have to make compromises on how I want to do things to make some of my efforts more sellable or even to please a particular client. Which would also mean I would need feedback. That’s part of why I always say we do them a favor when we let them know what we really want to see. Since Chuck, like all network programmiing IS about pleasing the audience.
      Some few artists are fortunate enough that their vision finds a paying audience in their lifetime. But I wager the vast majority feel like they must compromise their vision to make sales. There is an awesome Ridley Scott quote in the extras of “Kingdom of Heaven”. He talks about his original pllan was for a darker ending to that movie where Balin and the Queen never see each other again after the seige; but his producers (read “money people”) said “change it”. They wanted something a little more upbeat. And even an Academy Award winning director was willing to say first) it was clearly their right to make the demand, they were paying for it and second) the movie was probably better for their change. I’ve never had more respect for Ridley Scott than after hearing that.

      • Amrit says:

        For 3 out of 4 seasons they have compromised their vision and they are likely going to be doing it for a fouth season out of five…..so why crap on them when the take one season just for themselves? Oh yeah now I know because fans should get everything they want to see……

      • atcDave says:

        Amrit I doubt very much S3 was their “pure vision” either. In fact, I think S3 was the least artistically honest season they’ve done. Sadly, it is Script Writing 101 to continue wt/wt ad nauseum (the “lesson learned” from the old Moonlighting rule). In addition; dark, angst filled drama is all the rage this decade. I strongly suspect S3 was a cynical attempt to make the show more mainstream and increase its mass appeal; when it failed they reverted back to the show they wanted to make. And its the more optimistic tone and upbeat characters we’ve seen in the other three seasons that break from current convention. Read a few reviews, it won’t take too long for you to see what I’m talking about; Chuck is different largely because of its light, fun and even heartwarming take on things. One reason for the very enthusiastic following Chuck has is it is soooo different from most of what’s on TV; except for one depressing season…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’ve stayed away from the season 3 stuff, mostly because I’ve had my say and my fill, and am not crazy about where this usually ends up. For the most part, if you want to see my take on it scroll down till you see “Archives” in the right sidebar, pick January 2010 in the “Select Month” box and start reading. My view hasn’t changed much. I also understand that we are passionate fans, and that when passionate fans discover this blog or finally start posting instead of lurking they want to discuss things that may have been discussed before, at length. And it’s hard for other passionate fans to not jump in. I don’t feel the need anymore, but I think all that is fine.

        But there is one thing I constantly feel the need to do. Please self moderate and take note of the tone of your posts. Virtually every argument or nasty exchange on this blog comes down to some form of “Mask sucked so only people with no taste like it” versus “If you complain or didn’t like it you are a spoiled entitled brat with no ability to follow the story”. I exaggerate for effect. It rarely goes that far. 😉 Not all criticism is a bad thing or unfounded, especially wehen it comes to matters of personal taste and entertainment. We all have different likes and dislikes. The thing that I think has made this board special is that we’ve been able to both criticize and praise respectfully. Usually.

        We aren’t privy to the process, so I tend to agree, excoriating outside the very generic TPTB is usually not necessary, but finding the product lacking and sharing that isn’t necessarily crapping on the show runners and producers.

      • Big Kev says:

        Amrit,
        Without wanting to open a can of worms, I’m pretty much with you on the whole writers’ vision issue. Give me the writer’s vision over a jumbled mix of fans opinions any time. Take this blog. There are 40-50 regular commenters and we have some wildly divergent views over what we like and where the show should go. “Listening to the fans” is one of those ideas, like Communism, that sounds great in theory but fails in practice. If I was Fedak, who do I listen to? Shippers? Mythology people? Is it all about the characters? The stories? The writing? The truth is, it’s all about some indefinable mix of all of them. As much as I (mostly) love getting into things on here, if I was a showrunner, I wouldn’t go near forums like this. If I did, I’d be schizophrenic. I’d trust my judgement (which, after all, has been good enough to get me here in the first place), and my writers, make whatever compromises I needed to keep the network happy, and go from there. If I’m good at my job, I’ll be right more times than I’m wrong.
        Can’t agree with you about S3 though. I’m on Dave’s side on that one. I think S3 is probably the most artistically compromised season of all, actually. It’s on record that the original intention was to have Matt Bomer come back as Bryce, and that was kyboshed when White Collar got picked up. So your main arc is compromised and patched together before you even start shooting. Throw in massive budget cuts, whatever input the execs had into the direction of the season, and then the back 6 order, and it’s a fair bet that what hit the screen in S3 was a fair way from what was intended. That’s not to excuse S3’s many flaws, but it’s the likely reality of what TPTB were facing. I’m 100% in favour of TPTB telling whatever story they want to tell, even if it’s one I don’t like, but I wouldn’t ever call that story “pure” – it’s always compromised.

      • atcDave says:

        Kev I do appreciate our agreeing on something, even if it’s somewhat qualified! But I’ll ruin the moment just by saying; it isn’t communism to listen to your customers, it’s capitalism, the most successful economic model in history.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Dave,
        Agreed (again! We’re on a roll…..) But you still haven’t answered my question. If I’m Fedak – who do I listen to, exactly? I accept that there is some unanimity in the fandom as to which are the best Chuck episodes – but I suspect that’s simply a reflection that those episodes have a little bit of everything that we all like. And if you’re going to suggest that as a formula to follow, I’d certainly agree with you. But past that – who? I’m sure they have screeners and target demos and other such things, and the process they follow to arrive at that may even be vaguely scientific – I’m just saying that if I was a showrunner, I’d be trying to keep all that to a minimum.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ve never meant to suggest a writer should take his lead from everything fans say, that is pandering and it never works. But easily 80+ percent of comments after Comic Con 2009 were opposed to the path they had chosen; THAT should have raised red flags and led to a re-evaluation of the planned main arc for the season. Most of the time, I really do trust the pros.

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      @Amrit

      Actually, Chuck fans have been quite understanding, considering the incredible amount of misery thrown in their faces by TPTB. Unlike you, Amrit, the majority of fans were not entertained by season 3. The show lost a great many viewers, and many of those that stayed use terms such as “sick”, “angry”, “bitter”, or “left a bad taste in my mouth” to describe how they felt at the end of the season. But they kept on watching anyway. That is not usual; especially in a down economy with high unemployment. It would have been understandable if more people had just started watching another show. Who needs the aggravation?

      Don’t think that the sponsors don’t notice this. You hit the nail on the head when you described the TV cycle as starting with “it is the advertisers who pay the network…”. Companies who advertise on television pay a great deal of money to have their products or services exposed to what they believe to be favorable markets (read: viewers). The viewers of shows like Chuck have a reputation for being good, long-term customers. Add to that the enthusiam and expertise of Chuck fans over the past 2 years (the Subway sandwhich campaign was just the start) and you have a very visible fanbase that sponsors pay attention to.

      The Powers That Be got seasons 4 and 5 of Chuck BECAUSE of the fans, not in spite of them.

  31. Gord says:

    I remember reading a few fans comments on the NBC boards after Balcony that were really upset that the proposal was interrupted. To me it didn’t matter because it was the most heartwarming scene I think I have ever seen on TV. Then when the proposal did come at the end of Push Mix I thoiught it was pure perfection. He had followed Casey’s advice – all you need is the girl. When I think of that scene in many ways they replicated Casey’s Buffalo train station proposal.

    • Faith says:

      SQUEE!

      Balcony to me have gotten better after subsequent viewings. It’s become one of my favorites of the season. I guess it’s because of the romanticism of all of it. While some find it tedious and unfulfilling, I find it romantic and squee-worthy. Then again I liked it very much the first time out/

      • atcDave says:

        I’d agree entirely about liking it better now. I was pretty peeved with the way they ended it, but knew even at the time it was a three episode arc and would have to be viewed in a greater context. Seeing how well they ended that arc makes it easier for me to appreciate what they did to set it up. When the big moment did come, nothing was said; because nothing else needed to be said. Perfect.

      • Rev says:

        Personally I saw good things in the proposal and bad things. What I liked about it being interrupted, was that unlike many other Charah moments, like the first time Sarah told Chuck she loved him, at least this one wasn’t being tainted. Just imagine she says yes, and then gets dragged away for treason, now THAT would have sucked. What I didn’t like about the proposal was, Chuck bringing up the whole James Bond thing. We should have been past that by then IMO.

      • atcDave says:

        I thought it was just the standard nervous Chuck babbling. He wouldn’t have been as nervous if he’d known Sarah was fighting for it as hard as he was! Besides, I love how Sarah is just calmly amused by Chuck’s eccentricities.

      • Faith says:

        Dave, I think we go back to what Herder profoundly said earlier in that although the story is to be viewed as a whole we’re helpless but to see it in stages. Balcony in hindsight is one of those that are like that and you’re absolutely correct about the actual proposal. Nothing else needed to be said.

        Edit: Sorry I didn’t see your comment Rev. I agree with you about the James Bond thing but I also think it’s one of those things that make Chuck, Chuck and why they belong together. He will always wish himself better than he is to deserve her, same for her and to him, being “James Bond” is how he sees that. In turn she will always let him know that he’s already and was always “that guy” (for her) while wishing she could be more for him as well. It’s what makes them and what happens to them poignant and sweet.

      • thinkling says:

        Well said, Faith. You gave me chills. They really are perfect for each other. I absolutely loved Sarah’s helping the proposal in Balcony. Squeee indeed.

        I think all of S4 was great the first time and improves on rewatch, both as individual episodes and the season as a whole. It is genius, indeed. I’ll stop now before I start gushing.

      • Gord says:

        Faith, Balcony was a favourite of mine right from the start, and since the whole season is now complete I now find Balcony/Gobbler/Push Mix to be my favourite story arc of the season (or should that be sub-story arc considering it was part of the Mama B/Volkoff/engagement storyline)

  32. SarahSam says:

    S4 was most certainly awesome ( just finished First Fight- Phase Three) and S3 discussions are always the most popular because let’s be honest, it’s probably the season that doomed us to what we have now…the final 13 of what was potentially an all-time great show with epic characters. I just pray that whatever story they tell in S5 that they do maintain character integrity. If you do that, of course the growth will be “organic” I think that’s all fans really want however we interpret it.

  33. herder says:

    I was just rewatching Leathal Weapon for the umpteenth time when it hit me that the person likely to play Sarah’s mom is Kate Mulgrew, right age and the connections between Star Trek Voyager and Chuck make her a very likely candidate.

    I was thinking this when at the end something new in the story hit me for the first time ever despite the number of times I had seen this particular scene; at the end by the fountain Chuck gives his speech about why he can’t move in with Sarah, he’s crazy about her and a fake relationship is one thing but living together… and he hopes she understands, Sarah says she does.

    For the first time I realized that the situation is as unbearable for her as it is for him, for the same reasons, she does understand because she feels the same way. Maybe I’m just thick but in all the previous viewings I never picked up that she was just as tied up in knots about their relationship as he was, for the same reasons, the only difference is that by training or personality she can compentalize this problem while Chuck, whose feelings are closer to the surface than hers can’t. No matter how many times you see this show there is more to understand, genius.

    • Faith says:

      QFT! Lethal Weapon is one of my absolute favs for those reasons.

      • herder says:

        As I said, I had never picked up on this point, maybe it was because so much is going on in the scene, Chuck is bareing his soul, he talks about being with the woman he loves, Sarah visibly reacts to that then it is followed by the Tron poster reveal.

        In amongst all that is this little two word reaction, “I do”, but taken together with the whole “because it’s not” reaction to Cole’s comment about finding someone you really care about but having to leave them and “when you find someone you really care about it’s not easy to leave” you suddenly see she is in as deep as he is.

        I had always taken it as her acknowledgement that she knew how he felt, not that she felt the same way. Maybe a bit late on my part to see this, but there it is.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      All you need to do is really look at Sarah in that opening scene, as opposed to Chuck’s wide eyed freakout. Awake, alone, and clearly disappointed, then suddenly, when there is a chance, an excuse to interact with Chuck, she’s both buoyant, and a little apprehensive…

    • joe says:

      Herder, you just put your finger on a reaction I’ve had time and time again, and could barely put into words.

      But I have some bad news for you, buddy. There’s more of those scenes. Many more. You see it through Chuck’s eyes, get to understand it, then WHAM. You see it through Sarah’s. Or Casey’s. And then it’s different, the scene gets bigger. The worst is when you see it through Morgan’s eyes, and you realize that he’s NOT just a Pancho Sanchez.

      But like Chuck said during Ellie’s wedding reception, you can’t over think these things.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Joe,
        “You can’t over-think these things” – I think that ship may just have sailed for all of us who post on here! 🙂

      • joe says:

        Guilty, Your Honor. I throw myself on the mercy of the court. 😉

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        Guilty, Your Honor.
        And if it pleases the Court, I would just like to remind the jury that there is nothing wrong with me that wouldn’t be cured by a spanking from a good woman.

  34. Steve says:

    i just want to see some action packed yet still funny episodes and if some of the ladies of the show happen to be in a situation where a sexy outfit is appropriate then god bless

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