Chuck vs the Colonel: “Chuck’s” finest

4 seasons, 78 total episodes, innumerable favorites and yet one stands above. That “one” is Chuck vs. the Colonel. It’s the episode that changed everything; the reason for all the build up; the end of a journey. Countless longing looks, heartbreak, laughter, tears, hugs, and fountain talks has led to this and it was perfect, real. For once, absolutely, positively real. No more lies, no more fake relationship, for once, from now on “it is real.” Chuck vs. the Colonel wasn’t just an illustration of what it is we love about Chuck, it’s the very best of Chuck. An episode full of high stakes, drama, humor, growth and most of all, love.

Set the scene | PapaB has been abducted. He’s being held in a Fulcrum facility under the leadership of the devious, sociopathic Ted “you can eat them if you want” Roark and his minion Vincent. Chuck was bunker meat, and Sarah was tasked to bury him (metaphorically). Sarah didn’t take Beckman’s orders lightly. She only consented to speak to Chuck once made to realize that his life is in danger above ground. For Sarah, Chuck’s safety is paramount and she is after all still an agent first and foremost. She’s been an agent for most of her life; it’s given her purpose, a mission, a life. When her father was arrested, and Graham stepped in, the girl with many names and no ties was given one. A cold, often unsatisfying, complicated tie to the government but a connection all the same. So can she do what her mind insists she musts but her heart objects to? Can she continue to embrace “something bigger,” and forsake love? Can she be apart from her heart’s desire? No, she couldn’t, and so upon Chuck’s heartfelt, “I owe you an apology Sarah. I was beginning to think that I couldn’t trust you anymore…you’ve always looked out for me, thank you,” Sarah Walker set forth on a path that changed everything, treason. When once her whole life was the CIA, now it’s Chuck.

“There is no going back.” | It wasn’t just that she took him away against orders, or that she’s helping him find his dad (thereby giving him what he desires most), it’s that for once, and for always her walls have been disintegrated. She’s no longer in a battle against herself, against her growing feelings for Chuck, against the truth. Now everything’s clear. There’s Chuck. No more missions, no more deception, just Chuck. And for once the truth.

Chuck: “Why are you doing this…why are you here risking everything that you’ve worked so hard for?”
Sarah: “…because after everything you’ve done for this country, you deserve to find your father, to get the intersect out of your head, to have a chance at a normal life.”
Chuck: “What about when it’s not your job? What happens to us then?”
Sarah: “One mission at a time Chuck.”

Though her priorities have crystallized, she’s still unable to look beyond the moment, but don’t worry that will come.

Amazingly enough, this conversation isn’t the most telling, it’s what happens one sunny morning in a dirty motel room in Barstow that is. Cue Bon Iver’s Creature Fear. There’s a bit of a pun with the lyrics, “so ready for love” as Chuck and Sarah unleash their passion, but it is perhaps one of the most revealing and honest moment in all of Chuck. Through there were no words uttered, and the scene was simple, there isn’t a moment more iconic or more fulfilling than that moment (except perhaps “Feeling Good”) because it was simple and yet meant so much, showed so much. Overnight, they helplessly gravitated towards one another. Upon waking there was only the other. You can feel the strength of the love between them as their fingers roamed, as one met the other, as mate found mate. And as they basked in the moment of slowly waking up together, and their passion built, we fall even deeper in love. Then everything stopped and they just looked at each other, and smiled…PERFECT! That smile, in between fiery passion, was like the two of them taking in the moment, realizing the gravity of the situation, feeling the joy and the euphoria of finally, finally being together, finally embracing love. Seasons of longing looks, break up speeches, and wishes and dreams have led to this moment and it couldn’t have been more perfect. (As I type this, I too have a smile on my face, much like theirs). Finally Sarah was completely vulnerable, open, and Chuck Bartowski can no longer doubt himself and their love. Finally the truth can no longer be denied! It was their moment, we were so ready for it, and it didn’t disappoint.

John Casey was in a parallel journey, though his role was darker. Tasked to retrieve Chuck and arrest Sarah, we’re reminded of an earlier John Casey, one who was G-Man through and through. When once he couldn’t shoot at Chuck’s picture (First Date), now a Colonel, he does so without remorse. Jeff and Lester’s assessment of Casey’s obsession with Chuck was hilarious, and yet fitting. Threatening to strangle Chuck with a radiator and handcuff? John Casey gold. “Nerd bludgeoned by radiator?” Too funny. (Side note: fantastic awareness and twist to have Sarah in the shower expecting Casey and then taking him out? WIN!) Worse, he steps over the line and threatens Chuck’s family, threatens Devon. The fact that Awesome couldn’t take him out but Sarah could with one kick was great. But the twist was even more compelling. Though Casey seemingly embraced his inner villain, the fact that he did so because he felt betrayed was a shocking and moving twist. His vehemence at being the one that’s loyal, and being the one that’s been betrayed was inspired. It seems Chuck’s presence didn’t just change Sarah’s life, but Casey’s too. Needless to say this John Casey was one that we haven’t seen before, and one that is welcome. He showed a bit of his heart with the promise to rescue Chuck’s dad, but actually keeping it and helping rescue Chuck’s dad was a different Casey, a Casey with heart.

All of this under the constant threat of Fulcrum. With our heroes feeling the pressure of multiple threats, and hope seemingly lost, it made their triumph all the more riveting. I loved seeing Chuck and Sarah willing to do everything and anything for one another, even under tremendous pressure and personal risk. I loved that Sarah committed treason, that Chuck wouldn’t leave her behind, I even love that they had a moment of levity with “two beds?” I loved that Fulcrum kept on coming, and our heroes kept on battling. I especially loved that PapaB was the architect behind the scenes with theatre signs and reworked intersect. Bravery comes in many forms, but when it’s prompted by love it’s all the more compelling. PapaB, Casey and Sarah, they’re all very brave and heroic and in their way, they did what they did for love. Even Devon braved Casey’s threat and Chuck’s secret for Ellie, for love. Though flawed, Chuck is just as brave and heroic. He probably shouldn’t have left the car, but he did so because he understood the threat and danger an army of intersects would bring and sought to put a stop to it. In doing so he showed off his own streak of heroism.

Amazingly, Morgan also showed off his streak of heroism, with a bit of leadership to boot. Ostracized from Big Mike’s circle (great Godfather references), he sought to keep the Buy More together by joining forces with Emmett. Meanwhile Jeff and Lester are more interested in letting Rome burn (quite literally with the fireworks). The fact that they had a hand, even unwittingly in saving Chuck and Sarah from imprisonment makes their actions funnier. But the real hero of the Buy More was Morgan. He braved more than the villain in Emmet, more than Jeff and Lester’s disdain but he did what no one else has been able to, he quit. In leaving behind the comfort of the herd, and embracing Hibachi chef dreams, Morgan has finally matured.

So high stakes, truth, courage, love, and an explosion..the brilliance is almost blinding! And it gets better! Chuck promised his sister that he would find their dad and that he would be there to walk her down the aisle. Ellie has lost all hope, “I knew that my dad would disappoint me but I didn’t think Chuck would.” Then in comes Chuck with Stephen. Father and daughter finally get their moment,

Ellie: “Are you staying?”
Stephen: “I’m not going anywhere.”

What a tearjerker! But the moment for tears was fleeting because (cue Creature Fear) in comes Sarah and one is helpless to do anything but smile.

Sarah: “So how does it feel?”
Chuck: “It feels great actually, like everything is finally real.”
Sarah: “It is real.”

Just like that moment, and many before it, Colonel feels great. The very best of Chuck.

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About Faith

Eternally faith-ful at least as it relates to my beloved Los Angeles Lakers. Yes that's where the username comes from. Other than that self-professed Chuckaholic, Laker blogger and part time internet addict. Ok, full time.
This entry was posted in Analysis, Inside Casey, Inside Chuck, Inside Sarah, Music, Season 2. Bookmark the permalink.

94 Responses to Chuck vs the Colonel: “Chuck’s” finest

  1. atcDave says:

    This is still a great episode by itself. But I don’t quite share your unrestrained enthusiasm! The following season would make much of what seemed to be special here out to be a lie. It wasn’t real, yet. I think for me, Honeymooners has displaced Colonel as my favorite, because that’s then it really was real.
    I’m not looking to start another S3 discussion, but it does loom like a dark shadow over this episode. And that really is too bad, Colonel is an awesome episode. Exactly the right blend of humor, action, and romance for my taste. It’s also the only episode of this sort that was made while production values were still up to S1/S2 standards. As I’ve been rewatching these earlier episodes it’s amazing to me to see the difference budget cuts have made. The lighting and staging of shots was clearly more sophisticated; I would guess, this is something they’ve had to take short cuts on with tighter shooting schedules. That is too bad, but it does make Colonel a beautiful episode on several levels.

    • Faith says:

      Heh. *Ducks*

      I will say though that it’s one thing to reach that point of no return, yet another to live it. Like I said above though she’s admitted and embraced love, she was still living in the moment, incapable of seeing beyond “one mission at a time.” That had to change, just like Chuck’s 10-year plan/font had to come into fruition. And that’s all I’ll say at that 😉 lol.

      Also I know what you mean about the production values. Though really I’m more floored by the script, or lack of need for words to convey emotion within the script (see fangirlism on the simpleness and yet poignancy of the motel scene).

    • Dale says:

      Wow dave! Why not go all out and tell us how you really feel! that the moment was a conspiracy to get more fans to watch, to get fans to rally and save the show! To get a coveted third season! I mean if they knew they were not going to get more episodes in season three would they have put chuck and Sarah together or kept them apart! Kept taunting you! Lol! I am with faith it was a great moment in SERIALISED tv.

      • atcDave says:

        I always tell it how I really feel! But I’m no conspiracy monger, I believe whatever successes and failings to come deserve their own analysis. We don’t need any conspiracies to have good and bad story telling ideas.

        But I agree this was a great episode and a great moment. As I said, to me seems soiled now by what came next, but on its own merits this is an awesome episode and brilliant television.

  2. joe says:

    Truth!

    Overnight, they helplessly gravitated towards one another.

    One of my favorite sayings is: “The opposite of a profound truth isn’t a lie. It’s another profound truth.” And I’d like to offer one.

    It’s so right that Chuck and Sarah were helpless and inevitably drawn to each other. Talk about being swept away! The forces guiding them to each other were absolutely irresistible and compelled them to make decisions that neither wanted to make.

    But just look at what they did and what they had to do to get here. Every step of the way both of them took deliberate steps to make this happen. Deliberate? They risked everything, including their own lives to make it happen. They had to. They were not helpless so much as the (very) determined participants in their story. They were the active agents trying to make Barstow happen, one way or another.

    It wasn’t a matter of “if”. It was only a matter of “when”. I always love it when the story urges us to take charge of our own lives, if only in a small way, to be like that.

    Great write-up, Faith. I share your enthusiasm! 😉

  3. JC says:

    Colonel isn’t my favorite episode but it’s the best of the series no question. This was when the show was firing on all cylinders with a perfect mix of comedy, action, romance and drama. Whatever your opinion of the last two seasons, the show has never hit the high of this episode or the end run of S2 again.

    • Faith says:

      This has to be a first, we never agree on anything! 😉 Just kidding.

      Seriously though I agree with you. I thoroughly enjoyed what came before and after Colonel but none really measures up to its epic-ness (in my opinion).

  4. Wilf says:

    “Colonel” is one of my top favourite episodes and Faith’s review of it certainly does it justice. What I couldn’t understand at the time was why in the very next episode, “the Ring”, Sarah told Chuck she was leaving with Bryce. Sure, in theory she would likely have to go where her masters sent her, but she *was* able to change her mind later on in that episode, so why the apparent negation/denial of what happened between Chuck and Sarah in “Colonel”?

    • joe says:

      It’s a good question, Wilf. There’s enough room for us to imagine a few reasons that are consistent with the story (and characters) we have, I think. I sorta think myself that Sarah had a bit of a stumble, a little “buyer’s remorse”, perhaps. Or something like cold feet. It made her second guess her own feelings and she reverted to something less threatening (yeah, that would be facing down spies and bullets, rather than her own emotions about Chuck). Her nod “no” to Bryce makes it seem like a momentary glitch.

      Indeed, Sarah jumped in with both feet, and 30 seconds after The Ring ends she’s planning to run away with Chuck. (Yay!) Prague really, really blind-sided her, but that’s another S3 discussion.

      It’s pretty clear, though, that no matter what Sarah was thinking when she took on the assignment with Bryce, no one answer makes everybody happy.

    • Faith says:

      My 2 cents? She was unsure of the future. Although her priorities have firmed (it’s Chuck), the idea of a normal life with a normal guy was still scary and uncharted territory. The idea of being a prisoner with Chuck was probably more emotionally secure than being a normal girl with a normal guy who will inevitably want all that that entails. So she fell back on what she knows and that’s being a spy, being an agent and not a woman. She needed courage, more than that which circumstances forced on her with the threat against Chuck in Colonel. She needed clarity, reassurance and she got that when Chuck showed the kind of guy he was when he gave his sister the wedding of her dreams. Suddenly things became less complicated, more simple and she was reassured that he was still the guy she fell for even without the intersect. Suddenly her fears were unimportant, all that matters is the…guy (play on Casey’s speech in Balcony, but Chuck-centric ;)).

      Also I don’t think she really thought through what rescuing PapaB meant in terms of Chuck being intersect-less. Her face (and Chuck’s too) when PapaB told them he was free was not one of joy, it was one of shock. I imagine that she was thinking of “happily ever after” involving much of a status quo (if she were capable of thinking beyond the moment/dreaming beyond the moment, which in my opinion she wasn’t yet, all that she knew was she loved the guy and everything else is unimportant at the moment). And being forced to be separated, even one by choice because of her chosen profession was shocking.

      If you think about it, although things have changed between them, and the episode closed with the epic “it is real” moment, nothing was really firmed in terms of their future. Just that it would involve them being together. I think she secretly hoped that Chuck would accept the post of analyst and they would be together, forever, saving the world (anything but that scary “normal”).

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Faith I’m sure she was disappointed when Chuck turned down that analyst job. That would have made life (decisions) a lot easier for her; basically she could have had it both ways, job and relationship.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s the bst explanation I’ve heard, Faith.

      • Gord says:

        Faith, I agree with your assessment of where Sarah was at the beginning of Ring.
        I have always thought that it was an internal conflict on her part between professional duty and love and in the end love won out – well at least until S3 (sorry, just had to stir the pot)..

    • Silvercat42 says:

      “The Colonel” was a great episode, but I was extremely disappointed when in “The Ring,” despite the fact it was pretty obvious that Chuck and Sarah were finally going to make love after the rehearsal dinner, it became obvious that didn’t happen No explanation as to why they didn’t culminate the act they had started earlier in the day, especially when Sarah told Chuck, “It is real!.”

      And then worse, Sarah tells Chuck she’s going to leave with Bryce and basically leave him behind. So, as a result, even though Colonel is one of my top five favorites, it certainly isn’t at the top of my list. Phase Three occupies that position with me.

      • atcDave says:

        I think that lack of follow through is why Colonel is just sort of in the bunch near the top for me, and not my clear favorite. I would say Honeymooners, Phase 3, and Wedding Planner all rival for that top spot.

      • Sam Carter says:

        Good post, Silvercat. I agree, the explanation Sarah gave Chuck on ‘Ring’ was very contrived. It made no sense to me (no matter what others say to defend it). I was actually shocked she said that to him the first time I saw it. That’s why ‘Vs The Ring’ is not one of my top five despite all the awesomeness in it. I guess TPTB had very little room to play with in order to set up S3. Oh well, no deal breaker, it happens in ALL shows more than once. It’s not like Chuck is the only one that does that. Understandable. Besides, I doubt I would have done any better since I’m no professional writer AT ALL, haha!

        I like ‘Colonel’ a lot, really good episode, no doubt, but it’s not my favoriter from S2. ‘Dream Job’ is better, IMO. The drama and emotion and comedy in that episode is far better to me than Colonel. Heck, I even like ‘Tom Sawyer’ more than Colonel. ‘Dream Job’ is just brilliant and so compelling to me.

  5. jason says:

    @faith – I have never loved the colonel, the way a real shipper should. I read all of your post, liked it, not really taking exception as much as giving my POV. Tonight, I plan on watching colonel again, maybe my mind will change (I was sort of hoping your review would change my mind, but it hasn’t yet)

    1 – at this point in the wt/wt, sarah has had almost a teacher student relationship with chuck, she seems quite much older than he in many of s1/s2 eps, and until season 3 she has to take care of him, whether it is her job or not, he is near helpless

    2 – I saw colonel after pink slip, I started watching chuck only a week prior, so knowing what happens might have jaded me, unlike those of you who sat thru 2 years of the wt/wt, hoping for anything

    3 – too much tease, had the relationship been consummated, maybe I would have felt different, this reminded me more of hard salami – with bryce showing up right after to put the tease on – rather than other guy and honeymooners, which felt more real to me

    4 – in the ring, sarah is right back to saying goodbye, just like every other time they ‘almost’ get together

    5 – did CS ever talk about the hotel room again? ever? I mentioned this several times, some of the best chuck is stuff the writers won’t / can’t / refuse to / are smart enough to write. So they wrote that scene, then supposedly very likely end the series forever in 2×22 without mentioning it again. REally?

    • Faith says:

      I’m surprised. Not about me not changing your mind but your…ambivalence? towards Colonel. Here’s an episode that pitted Chuck and Sarah (as a team, as partners, as lovers) versus the world (quite literally in some ways because even Casey seemingly turned on them). While increasing stakes, danger and external variables around them, they were as you’d always hoped they would be portrayed, as a couple, as a team, a force together. I go back to the fact that Chuck wouldn’t leave her, that Sarah would risk it all, that they both leave insecurities and uncertainties behind. Although we’ve seen some of these, the honesty and the vulnerability with their actions and intent were definitely firsts in many ways. I give this episode more credence than most because it was the first. The euphoria in resolution of all that has been building towards this episode; all the tension (both sexual, emotional) and conflicts (both internal and external), all fulfilled and nullified by firsts in Colonel. Interestingly enough they promoted it as such.

      • jason says:

        I like the angle of chuck and sarah vs the world, I love that theme in chuck eps – so thx faith, that was a great tip to make me see the ‘light’. I also think the ending line of ‘it is real’ could have satisfactorily ended the series. Unfortunately, starting in the ring and for 12 straight s3 eps, the whole thing falls apart. That has jaded my view of colonel. Still, someday I am going to watch in succession my top 7 or 8 or 9 eps, colonel will be on that list, with cliffhanger, honeymooners, the pilot, delorean, and a few other eps, I am pretty sure colonel will hold its own with the very best chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I can see where the order you watched things in would jade your view of Colonel. I think for most of us watching at the time it aired though, it wasn’t obvious that things would fall apart get so ugly yet. Even Ring, didn’t exactly make ‘shippers happy, but it wasn’t an obvious disaster either. It wasn’t until we started hearing talk over that summer (especially Comic Con 2009) that we all started getting really uneasy about things. Then of course, Pink Slip was a major buzz kill. I would agree Colonel has been greatly diminished by that; but if we look at it as the culmination of the first two season’s story it is very satisfying in that regard.

  6. Rick Holy says:

    Actually, although I loved Colonel (and never mind some of the stuff that came in episodes immediately after it), what I loved MORE was the end of the episode that preceded Colonel. (Haven’t watched Season 2 in a while, so I forget the name). It’s about the last 10 minutes where Beckman sends Sarah to bring Chuck in because Chuck “trusts her and knows that she would never betray him.” So she goes to do what she’s ordered to do – and in midstream cannot bring herself to do it, whispering into his ear, “It’s all a lie…..” That is perhaps one of my favorite Chuck and Sarah “moments” because of the power behind it. It was a critical turning point (and again, never mind some of the stuff that happened after that), because although Sarah thought about leaving Chuck, not hooking up with Chuck, etc., etc., through it all, I would have to say that she NEVER did anything to BETRAY him. Perhaps break his heart? Perhaps border on possibly manipulating him? Yes. But that – at least for me in this case – does not begin to approach “betrayal.”

    Someone point out somewhere where I’m mistaken (if I am). But as far as I can see, she never betrayed him – and that was the most serious order (for me) that this “loyal soldier” disobeyed when told to do so. Just think it was a key turning point, no matter what b.s. stuff may have occurred in subsequent episodes (from you know which season).

    • joe says:

      That’s the end of First Kill, Fr. Rick. And it’s probably my favorite scene of all time.

      Hum… At least, it’s my favorite Sarah scene, as opposed to “Chuck&Sarah scene”, ’cause it’s all about her evolutionary moment. But you’re absolutely right. Sarah seemed so close to betraying Chuck, and then dramatically discovered she couldn’t do it. Wouldn’t do it. Wonderful television.

    • atcDave says:

      “Take off your watch”

      Possibly my favorite television moment ever! Now I do love S4; as I’ve said many times, Chuck of S4 is the show I always wanted it to be. But some of those moments from the end of S2 are amazing. Kind of like Babylon 5, mid-S3; brilliant television!

      • joe says:

        I shouldn’t admit to being so – what’s the word? – caught-up? in it. But just that one quote, Dave, brings back everything I ever loved about this show. Two and (almost) a half years later and it’s still a testimony to the power of that scene. I always think of it as the beginning of The Colonel.

        Great example, btw!

    • Faith says:

      I have an example but it would open a can of worms and is entirely subjective. Plus it touches on that which I try to stay far, very far away from. That said, you said it better than I could/tried to above with my comment to Jason. These two, the connection between them is so huge, so important, they would never betray each other. At least, to this point …can of worms. *Ducks* lol.

      Oh and they made a point to foreshadow that concept of betrayal/trust in the beginning of First Class with Jill’s parents talking about your spouse needing to be the one person that would never betray you. Closing the episode with Sarah and not being able to do it in the end was brilliant.

  7. Verkan_Vall says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Faith. One of my favorite episodes (only Honeymooners edges it out by a fraction), and great television. That last string of episodes in S2 just left me wanting MORE Chuck. Which made the b.s. in S3 all that much more devastating.

    Oh well.

    • atcDave says:

      Ditto all VV. I’ve been re-watching S2 episodes recently, it is exciting all over again and easy to remember why I was so hooked. And now I can skip straight from 2.22 to 3.14; you know I really don’t need anything in between…

      • Wilf says:

        Exactly what I’ve been doing on re-watching. Leave out 3.1 to 3.13. Although I would watch a few clips – for example the “Beard” revelation (to Morgan) scene, and the closing minutes of “Other Guy”.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @Dave, Wilf

        Agreed. And if almost all of those clips from 3.1 to 3.13 have Yvonne and Sarah in them, well, sue me. But I can jump from the end of S2 to the Paris train to Zurich with no trouble at all.

      • jason says:

        me too, I jumped 8 eps in my alias rewatch now in season 3’s start without missing a beat for enjoyment. I would jump from 2×22 to 3×14 without hesitation, although there are about 7 or 8 minutes of ‘gamechanging, epic’ tv in 3×13, I have the FF’ing down to a science, watch and skip, watch and skip, watch and skip ….

  8. DignityRLI says:

    @Faith – Thanks for another awesome write up and excuse to re-watch vs. The Colonel.
    Couldn’t agree more, this was C+S at their best of the series to this point… while giving a glimpse of all the potential yet to be fulfilled.

    Whenever Sarah chooses Chuck (and treason) over protocol, I am ALL IN (Marlin, First Kill, etc).

    Did want to comment on an aspect you didn’t give much attention. Team B. There might be quite a bit of internal turmoil with Team B in this episode (Casey ate a 2×4 and took a kick to the head; Chuck a muzzle up his nose and incarceration, chicken franchises are slandered) but there is NO EXTERNAL turmoil.
    Devon: Why can’t we call the cops!
    Chuck: Because I am the cops!
    Acting in unison, to protect the team: Sarah: Chuck! Casey: Moron! Sarah: Chuck! No!
    And yet they let him lead on….
    …and later, they talk it out, in a way Casey is comfortable with (holding guns on each other)
    Sarah: Is that a yes?
    Casey: Under one condition, HE stays in the car.
    Sarah: Agreed. (Guns down. Turmoil resolved)
    …. Ah the places this team, a burnout killer (cold school) and the best and 2nd best spies he’s ever worked with will go (physical and metaphysical) in the years to come. Give me more!

    • Faith says:

      Glad you enjoyed it!

      I did gloss over a bit of Team B versus the world. I think Casey was largely on the outs rather than in, on the surface. Though for clarification (I might be confused) I think you mean there’s no internal turmoil between Team B. Even when Casey was tied up and on the outs with the rest of the “team” he still maintained his role of protector (seen in scene you quoted). As an aside, I like to replay that scene, I perversely like Sarah yelling at Chuck there. “Chuck, no!” Ha.

      To add Casey’s “moron” also had a tone of affection, as much as Casey could be affectionate. Of course one of the best things about Ring (in my opinion) is Casey. On the contrary, Team B had multiple external conflicts in the form of Fulcrum, General Beckman, and in the beginning, Casey…hence Chuck and Sarah versus the world.

  9. Jessie Pinkman says:

    I love forums like these especially with crazy shippers like Dave and Jason, lol. these guys want a show called Chuck that has Chuck and Sarah holding hands and skipping down the street whistling dixie, lol, what a joke. I see the same thing on breaking bad forums! Why does walt and Jessie not launder there 3 million dollars every 3 months into viable businesses, why do they still make mistakes, why are they not playing golf with the governor of new Mexico! Why? Because that would not bevtrue to who they are! They are screw ups! Walt White gave up on a billion dollar company he helped form because he is petty! Jessie grew up in a nice home with loving parents and yet he screwed his life up. Chuck and Sarah are no different, they had opportunities to be better people (chuck could have made it to buy more corporate if he stopped wallowing in self pity) and Sarah did not have to keep following her dad around doing these cons well into her late teens when she ad a loving grandma in a nice home. She made a choice (this is America chuck everyone has a choice – John casey). The best part about these type of stories (and what makes the journey so rewarding) is that it is a journey and by learning from mistakes it makes people or characters better for it. This is why the world is imperfect, if everyone acted like dave and Jason ant chuck and Sarah to act then there would be no wars, conflicts, etc. That is great for the real world (but let’s be honest it is not and never will be possible – sadly no world peace) but in tv – that would make Chuck a procedural – arghhhhhhhhhh NO THANK YOU!

    • atcDave says:

      You know Jesse or Dale or whatever, we’ve asked you to confine yourself to one user ID. It’s really fighting dirty to make it look like we have multiple visitors who just wait for opportunities to cuss me out when it’s mainly just you.
      And do keep it civil please. We’ve had much debate from posters and commenters with a wide range of opinions and taste that has generally been conducted in a polite, if occasionally passionate, manner. That range of ideas is what keeps discussion here interesting. It is an awesome opportunity and responsibility to get to think through and defend your opinions. You are always allowed to disagree with me or anyone at this site, but I garuntee it will be more rewarding for you and all of us if you a approach it in a way that allows for discussion and debate. Mocking those whom you disagree with is usually not a good start.

      And for the record, if you really pay attention to what’s being said you’ll see a lot of difference and nuance in what different viewers want. Even fairly hard core ‘shippers like myself and Jason often disagree on the details of how we see things. And there’s a lot more than just the two of us; are you really meaning to suggest the dozen or so articulate ‘shippers who post here are just clueless morons who will recognize our foolishness once we’ve been scolded by you?
      It is true we have a pretty ‘shipper friendly site here, but we’ve debated a broad variety of viewpoints here. You are always welcome to present your opinion. But it will be more fun for all of us if you respect those you disagree with.

      By the way, this is a Chuck site. You are of course free to mention another show, but if you really prefer Breaking Bad you might be happier at a site dedicated to that show.

    • thinkling says:

      Ditto all that Dave said. First, everyone has a voice here, but nobody is allowed two voices … or three. Second, this isn’t Breaking Bad. Third, your characterization of shippers on our blog (of whom I am one) is exaggerated, sarcastic, and wholly inaccurate. There are a broad range of opinions and a broad range of S3 details that brought dissatisfaction to many in varying degrees. Others, like yourselves, were happy with S3. Like Dave said, we discuss those opinions and details regularly, defending our viewpoints without mocking those who hold opposing views. So, please, pick one ID and dial back on the personal insults and sarcasm.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks Thinkling! And speaking of differences of opinion; although Thinkling and I often seem to agree on things, it is a little known fact she has long advocated a gruesome death for Sarah in episode 5.02, and I’m not very enthused about her vision.

      • armysfc says:

        thikling i agree with most of what you said, but disagree with one part. “our viewpoints without mocking those who hold opposing views”. while it is true you do not mock, you once told me you were writing slowly so i would understand what you wrote. i replied in kind and was jumped on by the rest of the members, another time my lifestyle was commented on. while not mocking it was not done in a friendly way. i was called a troll at one point also, because one of my speculations was not well liked. one of your members has insulted several posters here, told others they were flat out wrong and angered the owners of another fan blog. they replied to not mention them like that again. the latest was a post made the week of comic-con. he always says he was kidding and i suppose he feels that makes it ok in his opinion. i have always gone by the mantra that if you make a joke and one person is offended, it fails to be a joke. granted it is his right to do so, then it should be someone else’s right to do so as well. it’s one of the reasons i stay away from most of the discussions that take place here. i just pop by and read the posts and keep my opinions mostly to myself. i no longer feel comfortable commenting about the show here. i just felt compelled to comment on this topic. all you need to do is look back over the past few months and see the people that no longer post here because of comments made to them or about their opinions.

        the sad part is most discussions are fun when there is a difference of opinion, and sadder yet is neither side can win. the fandom has been fractured to a large extent. no matter how good one group thinks season 4 was, another thinks it was poor. same goes for season 3. peoples ideas about the show are to embedded now to change.

        dave while the nuances are there, they are small. the major complaint about season 3 here is the pli’s and oli’s and the way the relationship was handled. from what i read here they were the root cause of the dislike of season 3. season 3 failed to meet the expectations of many fans, chuck and sarah together as a couple. season 4 gave that to those fans by the boat load, and that’s why this past season was regarded as very good by those fans.

        BTW i do AGREE the post was done in a less than friendly manner, and the person should stick to one name.

      • atcDave says:

        Your last sentence is exactly the point. Obviously many of our discussions have gotten exciting at times; but I see a big difference in getting exasperated during discourse as opposed to opening with a full broadside.

        Of course we ‘shippers found S3 unacceptable largely because of how the central relationship was handled. But I think we’ve also heard a lot here from those who were unhappy with other structural issues (remember the whole “Shaw is Poochie” discussion) or those who’s main beef was the darker tone of the show [I have one friend, who doesn’t post here, who constantly ranted that “this season isn’t funny at all!”(re: S3)].
        And I would also add to that, while many of us ‘shippers were happier with the S3.5 episodes; I think most of us have been even happier yet with S4. NOT because of changes in the relationship per se; but almost entirely because of the lying Chuck issue. If you recall, many of us were quite frustrated with that element in the late S3 episodes. When S4 addressed that concern right at the start, it cleared the air of a stink. I think if certain issues related to continuity and mythology were improved on in S5 we’d be even happier yet. I’ll add one more thing to that, most ‘shippers don’t celebrate the episode where Chuck and Sarah finally were “together” (Other Guy) nearly as much as they celebrate Honeymooners.
        Why did I go through all of this? Just because I think its an oversimplification to say we liked S4 just because it gave us Chuck and Sarah together “by the boatload.” It sure was much appreciated (and way overdue, but that’s another discussion), but there is still a lot that goes into what works and what doesn’t. For me, S4 works brilliantly, and I’m happy to defend it.

      • armysfc says:

        dave, point taken. i used majority or a reason as well as most fans. i was not trying to lump this group separate. there are multiple reasons for the dislike of season 3, not just the ones i mentioned. when one of the most common posts is along the lines of if they did away with the pli’s, oli’s…had shaw as a mentor not a love interest the season would have worked better.

        dave, there is no reason, with me anyway, to defend season 4 and why you liked it. it’s a matter of personal taste. ask yourself this, if they did not progress c/s as far as they did would the season have been as good? suppose they were just dating and didn’t move in
        together till ep 4.24? the proposal and wedding never happened. that’s why i used c/s by the boatload. for fans that the watch primarily for the relationship, it was a very good year. the relationship of c/s and family was the main focus this past year.

        here’s a point to ponder. if during season 5 they break up c/s or mess with the relationship in some way, what will the reaction here be?

      • atcDave says:

        Well Army I am a ‘shipper. Of course I love the progress for Chuck and Sarah through S4, and I would be outraged if their marriage failed in S5. I’m also not really worried about it. I expect to continue loving the show in S5.

      • thinkling says:

        I love the progress for Chuck and Sarah through S4, and I would be outraged if their marriage failed in S5. I’m also not really worried about it. I expect to continue loving the show in S5.

        My sentiments exactly.

        A lot of folks seem to think that shippers were upset in S3 simply because CS weren’t together. It’s more than that, at least for me. There were other problems with S3, some of which Dave listed in another comment. Even though I think there was merit to the story (minus the LI’s), I think it was poorly elaborated and prolonged beyond most people’s tolerance. The OLI’s didn’t work on a variety of levels, and shoe-horning them into the season (or building the season around them, which appears to have been the case) threw the main story way off course (IMO). At some point it’s just not believable any more. A brief set back (say 3 episodes) and recovery in the forward motion of the relationship would have been believable, but the utter destruction and epic (and by epic I mean l-o-n-g, not dramatically satisfying) separation didn’t work … at all. Even some people who aren’t necessarily shippers would agree with that point.

        If LI’s and apocalyptic breakups weren’t believable in S3, they would be ridiculous in S5. They would nullify all of S4: all the declarations of love and commitment, all the relationship growth, Phase 3, the “prenup”vows, Cliffhanger. Not only that, it would make a mockery of marriage and family, something Chuck is strong on.

        To me it’s never just the question of their being together or not. It’s about character consistency and integrity in story telling. At this point an S5 marriage breakup (or even a big marital problem arc) would fly in the face of the characters and the story. FAIL.

        For those reasons, I don’t think they’ll go that direction. They thought they had one last wt/wt/li round left in S3. A lot of us thought they used one too many. I think everybody knows by now that that ship is long gone.

    • joe says:

      First, apologies for being away from my keyboard since yesterday. It was painfully unavoidable, and I’ll be fighting to find time for a bit longer.

      But “Jessie”, don’t let that fool you. I stand by what Dave said 100% too.

  10. Silvercat42 says:

    Just remember, folks, not everyone hated Season 3. Not even the 6 and 7. But I guess according to this site’s protocol, we’re supposed to keep quiet and just assume EVERYONE hated.

    • ArmySFC says:

      SC i know we don’t see eye to eye on most stuff, but i think the issue here is the attitude of the post. many people have posted here how they liked season 3 they just did it in a less aggressive manner. despite how much i disliked season 4 i don’t hold that against the folks that liked it, and i don’t say it in a manner like the person above did. i say my piece and leave it at that. that i think is the reason for the type of reply’s that dave and thinkling gave.

  11. Silvercat42 says:

    Typo in previous post: meant to say “eps 6&7”. And if I seem a bit frustrated, it’s because every thme I’ve defended Season 3 on this and other sites, I basically have been asked, “How can you think that way, EVERYONE knows the first half of Season 3 sucked.”

    • atcDave says:

      Silvercat I’ve never denied anybody’s right to like or dislike what they want. But when you express an opinion it is an invitation to debate. There shouldn’t be any personnel animosity about it; but be prepared to defend it! That’s what makes this site fun. It’s the opportunity to explain yourself, defend your opinions, and maybe make a difference in how somebody else sees things. At the very least, its about understanding multiple viewpoints.
      If you don’t like or don’t understand what someone else is saying, speak up! We will happily debate almost anything Chuck related here as long as the tone is kept civil. Perhaps I take for granted sometimes that everyone understands the spirit in which our commentary is meant.
      Joe, Ernie and I just met for the first time a couple weeks ago; and in spite of occasional differences of opinion we’ve expressed here we had a great time together! It was full of smiles, laughter, and familiar camaraderie. I’m old enough that it still seems very strange to me to have well developed friendships with people I’ve never met before, but that is exactly how it is. I believe that attitude can and should carry over to Chuck fans at large. Even if we don’t watch for exactly the same reasons, we all enjoy the same show. When you consider most people have never even heard of our favorite show, that means we’re in select company from the very start.

  12. jason says:

    funny, blogging about chuck always boils down to the same thing – sort of bores me at this point, but yet, here are another couple hundred words on the subject:

    There have been / are literally dozens of shows sort of like the chuck of season 3, with a primary wt/wt sort of couple in the lead role. I could care less about most those couples. For those shows – the primary pull is the DRAMA about everything else but the couple: the action, suspense, intrigue, and mystery.

    Chuck has no such dramatic story because it has no riveting cast of 4 or 6 or 8 regular dramatic characters to knock your socks off each week in twists, lies, deception, betrayal, and romance. It has sarah and / or chuck and sarah’s romance to pull drama from, that is it – more or less.

    The beauty of Chuck is CHUCK and SARAH’s offbeat romance (lets face it – he is no James Bond), along with the comedy from its cast of clowns. Drama from the romance would be fun if he was james bond et er rick Castle et er micheal weston et er well you get my point, then he has it coming. Kind of the reason nobody wants morgan tortured, harmed or even given a romantic rival with a alex LI, he doesn’t deserve it, he is funny, he is nice, he is defenseless, as casey puts it, he IS a moron. It is not that much fun to see morons get harmed, especially for 13 straight episodes.

    If you are looking for drama, mystery, mythology and trashy LI ridden stories, there are dozens out there – it simply is not what chuck does well. This statement is not measured by the fact many were OK with season 3’s front 13 – of course many out there liked s3, the dislike was not unanimous – everyone who started watching season 3 at least liked the show – it is illogical to think ANY plot line would displease the entire fandom.

    No, S3’s failure was measured by the intense passion of the those who were not OK with those eps, abnormally intense displeasure. For a tv show to succeed, it must not alienate a substantial portion of it’s loving fanbase when it is testing its limits (the word limits was used by fedak to describe s3). The failure was not in the alienation of fans with the LI story, the 13 straight episodes of misery, and the lack of logical explanation for sarah’s behaviour thru dialogue, but in the level of intensity that dislike manifested itself as. I think even those fans who loved s3 have to admit, the dislike for s3 was abnormally passionate from those fans who disliked s3.

    I submit to those who loved s3 and did not love s4, that intensity of dislike was why season 3 failed and season 4 did not, although season 4 did indeed elicit dislike, most those fans voiced criticism or even left the show with a whimper, not the with the kicking and screaming of s3’s ‘crazy’ fans.

    • BigKev67 says:

      @Jason,
      I think you’re half right – I think both S3 and S4 “failed”. I got 2 people into Chuck over S2/S3 – both of them stopped watching midway through S4. I know you don’t think that Chuck does drama or mythology well – you know I disagree with you on that. What is not deniable is that parts of the fanbase look for those things because Chuck provided them in the past at it’s best – and if it doesn’t provide them any more, they will go somewhere else. And so it’s proved – OD and the mythology fans – gone. Frea and the Castle Inanity guys looking for consistent writing – almost gone. S4 failed for exactly the same reason as S3 – because they both forgot that Chuck’s genius was in it’s ability to cater for all tastes – shipper warmth, mythology, drama, comedy. The writers departed from that formula with S3, they confirmed that departure with an S4 aimed solely at the shippers and they fractured the fanbase as a result.
      This all started from a discussion of Colonel. Most fans love Colonel and I would submit one of the reasons for that is that there is something for everyone. There’s Barstow and “It’s real” for the shippers, there’s drama with Chuck and Sarah on the run and twists in the tale, there are some great payoffs of longer running mythology themes, a great storyline, the script is tight as a drum – it’s the template for what every Chuck episode should be. I don’t know why they ever chose to depart from it but we’d have a much more unified fan base if they’d stuck to it.

      • atcDave says:

        One thing I completely agree with Kev, Colonel (MAYBE Ring) marks the end of a unified and satisfied fan base. Although I don’t really believe the story or mythology of the show degraded all that much, Chuck has had an abundance of stray threads and dropped plots almost from the beginning. So by the time S4 rolled along many may have been catching on the fact Chuck was not going to be Alias, and those dropped points kept piling up. Add to that, I think much of the backlash was simply in opposition to the fact ‘shippers were so happy (I know it sounds silly, but I do believe that’s exactly what many viewers were reacting to).
        The biggest difference I see in the later seasons is that much of the “menace” that was present in S1 and S2 is gone. I mean, the kill order went away after episode 2.01, never mentioned again. The bunker option seems to have disappeared after 2.21. In S3 things stayed a little dark with the CIA issuing Red Tests and all, but that theme was dropped after 3.13. Even the Buy More used to carry more menace; Chuck often was “threatened” by Big Mike, Harry Tang, or Emmitt Milbarge. But since Morgan rose to Assistant Manager Chuck has had little to “fear” for with his cover job. On top of that was the romantic tension (which finally became oppressive in S3) and lying to Ellie.
        In S4 the lowered menace was obvious for much of the season; teamB was clearly on good terms with Beckman, they were never ordered to do anything too odious, Morgan runs the Buy More, Chuck and Sarah are in a good place, even Ellie had SOME clue of what was going on for much off the season. The show clearly became lighter for most of S4. As Jason said above, that’s awesome news for those of us who enjoy light and fun, and are tired of the relentless barrage of darker themed shows we get on most of television. But I can see where fans of darker fare wouldn’t have found as much to like in Chuck S4.
        It will be interesting to see what S5 brings us. The earlier “balance” may be restored some with the CIA being a threat to teamB once again. Buy More may be lighter and sillier than ever, obviously no real tension can develop there beyond if Chuck will fire Jeffster while keeping his actual authority secret. I do suspect (and yes, hope) that the show will stay mostly lighter. I don’t want any new tension between Chuck and Sarah or even Chuck and Ellie. And Morgan within the Intersect can’t possibly be played too dark. I really am tired of the dark drudgery that is most prime time television, so I hope Chuck avoids that. I’m also optimistic about the season ahead. But it would be nice if some of the disgruntled fans something to like again.

      • armysfc says:

        dave i agree with you 100% on the menace portion of your post. that’s why season 4 fell off for me. in the first 2 seasons the big bad was not a singular person, it was a group that threatened the entire country. in 4 it was personal. for the most part season 4 dealt with things on a family in trouble not the country or world. had volkoff been trying to take over the world or country, like fulcrum and its ideas, it would have played better for me. volkoff only wanted to sell arms and let the chips fall where they may. heck if they hadn’t snatched mary at one point, he probably wouldn’t have cared about chuck at all, because he didn’t even know who chuck was, so it was kinda his own making, lol.

        for me anyway, i’m glad that at least some part of the fan base was happy with season 4 meaning the shippers. even though i don’t ship any couples, the one thing i hate on a show or in a movie is relationship angst. they have the stupidest reasons for it. i watched the body guard again last night (after many years) and the line, “i can’t get involved with a client, i’ll lose my focus” i believe that if you love someone you go the extra step for them, push harder than for someone you don’t. it’s not done on a conscious level but a sub-conscious one. all ya need to do is look at the crazy stuff chuck did in the first 2 seasons because of how he felt about sarah. it pushed him to do stuff he never would do but did it because of emotions.

      • OldDarth says:

        ‘And so it’s proved – OD and the mythology fans – gone. guys looking for consistent writing – almost gone.’

        More the second point – consistent writing for me. With which the mythology goes hand in hand. The Volkoff Retcon and the Ellie Evisceration – four seasons of Mother Hen Ellie resolved with a, ‘oh of course you’re a spy.’ Huh. Those two clunkers were the final straws that broke my already fragile 50,000 foot level I had retreated to, watching for good moments only, hold with the show.

        Too many setups with very little payoff = unsatisfying story telling.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually army I don’t think we are in agreement about the menace. I think the major baddies were as effective as ever. I’d even say Volkoff was the best villain we’ve seen yet; sort of like Rourke +. It’s in the sort of background issues where the menace was dialed back. Meaning, Chuck’s day to day life was better than ever; but the missions remained exciting and life threatening. To me, that’s exactly where I like it (although spending the first two seasons earning it was part of the fun). I would agree Fulcrum as an organization was a good foe, certainly it felt more dangerous than the Ring ever did. But the individual mission and villains are as good as ever.

        I do agree about the relationship angst though; although I felt the first two seasons used it effectively, and S4 (mostly S3.5) effectively resolved it. That sort of leaves the bulk of S3 as a black hole of over wrought and cheesy angst.
        But I would also agree the idea that loving the person you’re supposed to protect somehow makes you a less effective protector is clearly idiotic. Its conceived entirely as a melodramatic plotting tool to add artificial tension to a romantic story. It will get a big groan from me every time. But of course Sarah’s position was a little different from the start. She wasn’t just a bodyguard; as Chuck’s handler she was expected to keep the CIA’s interests first and foremost which would occasionally mean putting Chuck in situations that were clearly NOT in his best interest (like running almost any dangerous mission, but especially represented by the bunker order of 3.20). So if Sarah became too “compromised” with her asset (like say protecting him in ways that made him less useful on missions) she would run the risk of being replaced by an agent who would be more willing to put Chuck in harm’s way. In fact “Broken Heart” even shows some acknowledgement of this; of course the initial set-up is a bit silly (Chuck being smitten with his handler should be a GOOD thing from the agency’s perspective), but what Forrest accuses her of is being too close to her asset to do her job correctly. When Sarah redeems herself Beckman acknowledges their feelings are an “asset to the asset”. Well duh! Sarah’s an awesome protector for Chuck; the problem is she’s not an unbiased CIA agent. Perhaps this is why Sarah doesn’t seem overjoyed to see this publicly recognized by her boss. It could mean, Sarah is allowed to remain on the mission, but Beckman now knows she is nothing more than a bodyguard to Chuck; she should not be fully trusted with the government’s interests in the future. Which, if the show had chosen to go this way, she would have been left in the dark regarding any future kill or bunker orders about Chuck. Fortunately, for really no good reason, Beckman fails to take advantage of this information and tries to get Sarah to lead Chuck directly into the bunker which leads us right back to Colonel. Good thing Beckman is the stupidest General in Air Force history!

    • armysfc says:

      jason, kev….i agree with both of you on most of your points. season 2 had enough of all the points i liked about chuck and not to much about what i don’t. for me it was a good balance. when ANY show loses less than a million viewers in a season i think it appeals to most fans. season 2 was like that.

      kev, i too wonder why they went away from the formula that worked so well in season 2. you said something that i have been saying since i first got here. “The writers departed from that formula with S3, they confirmed that departure with a S4 aimed solely at the shippers and they fractured the fan base as a result.” they went too heavy in both directions, instead of maintaining the balance they had before.

      jason, the comment about those that left during season 4 going quietly is spot on. i believe there is a reason for this. as the season progressed and the ratings continued to fall most fans, even the ones here, generally believed this would be the last season. why raise hades when you think its a done deal? people just got tired of it all and left.

  13. jason says:

    army – I don’t think no more so in s4 than s3, I sure did not think it was coming back, yet I was far more passionate with my s3 displeasure than most fans were toward s4.

    kev – who knows? an interesting comment about s5 from fedak or goldblatt, was the return to s1’s show. Here is a case that s4 attempted to return to s2:

    volkov = Roark
    mary = stephen
    Agent X = Orion
    marriage wt/wt = consummation wt/wt

    To me, the big difference was the agent X / reason for mary abandoning her family was not a story fans liked, the orion / reason for papa b was really, really good tv. CS have taken lots of the blame for s4, IMO they did just fine in s4 vs s2, better, but still, they did fine, as did volkov vs roark. So the big change in s4 vs s2 was the spy story, OD is probably laughing at me, he has always contended this. But, for those of us who care about CS and the spy story is a weak 2nd or 3rd, after s3’s misery – s4 was awesome.

    In s3’s first 13, nothing did ok vs s2, shaw did not measure up to volkov and roark’s brilliant, zany, malevolence, chuck and sarah had 12 episodes of misery, and there was not much else going on, maybe, here is a stretch, maybe the magnet / morgan’s growth could be compared to stephen / orion and mary / agent X, but lets face it not really. AS for the comedy, in S3, chuck and sarah’s split cast a giant shadow over each misery ep, as the brilliant CS chemistry that sort of drove the good ship Chuckles, was MIA.

    I think the bottom line, if CS mattered first and foremost, s4 was brilliant, if the spy story mattered first and foremost s4 had some flaws, and if the villain was important, s4 was ok. I still contend the passion of the CS fans trumps in ‘spades’ the passion of those who watch chuck for the spy story, I compared the spy story passion once to reading playboy magazine for the articles, rather than for the pictures (chuck and sarah).

    • BigKev67 says:

      Jason,
      No doubt the shippers are by far the most vocal fans – they want what they want and they’re louder about it than the rest of us. I think there’s some truth in Dave’s statement above that some people reacted against the shippers in S4. I know it grates on me sometimes that every conversation on every topic comes back to Chuck and Sarah. They are my 2 favourite characters but sometimes I just wish we could all talk about something else, frankly….and I (honestly) used to consider myself a shipper!

      • BigKev67 says:

        Sorry – published prematurely!
        Having said that I have some hope that they’re going back to an ensemble feel for S5 with some emphasis on some other characters. I don’t think that necessarily means less C/S – but I do think it gives the writers more story options. Having Ellie/Devon knowing the full story and having the BuyMorons integrated into the premise again can only be a good thing in terms of constructing a tighter story that hangs together.

    • JC says:

      Jason I don’t think its that black and white. I’d say the majority of fans problems with the last two seasons hasn’t been the stories themselves but in their execution. That was the major failing of S3 and to a lesser extent of S4. I know Bryce and Cole aren’t loved by many people but don’t they get the hate that Shaw gets? His arc was basically an extended repeat of Bryce from S1 so what was the problem? It was the writing and execution of the character and the story. The same goes with Orion and Mary’s arcs. Similar stories but her character takes more heat because of how it was presented.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the main failing for Mary is just we never really bought why her mission took 20 years. It made her look a little silly and stupid. Even if the actual performance was fine (and I thought her first two appearances in 4.01 and 4.06 were particularly well done) the backstory kept us from ever really liking or respecting the character.

      • JC says:

        I agree with that Dave. It has the Hydra and Agent X reveals that really did it for some people. Orion’s reasons for leaving were just vague enough you could forgive him but Mary’s weren’t. And I know you don’t agree about Agent X but that threw Orion and the mythology under the bus.

      • atcDave says:

        I know I’m in the minority, but yeah, Agent X is the closest it ever came to making sense to me. Gobbler, and to a lesser extent Push Mix is where I really had a problem with Mary. But that was really the element in the spy story I had a problem with all season; I mean its a comedy, my expectations aren’t that high. If its fun, I like and respect the characters, and they surprise me from time to time I’m willing to call it good.

      • JC says:

        I get that but the time we got Hydra, I felt like the writers really didn’t care or notice if Mary came off like a bad spy. It was like the idea of her being Volkoff’s enforcer and the things she had to do in that role. The Agent X reveal like I said hurt the mythology, Orion and her in one episode. It was like the opposite of Bryce working for Orion which redeemed Bryce even more to me.

      • thinkling says:

        I didn’t really have a problem with the Mary story. We may not accept her explanation as to why it took 20 years, but she did give one, and Beckman corroborated it in Push Mix. It was as believable to me as the Stephen story. I really liked the Agent X twist. To me it helped explain both Mama and PapaB’s stories.

    • OldDarth says:

      ‘To me, the big difference was the agent X / reason for mary abandoning her family was not a story fans liked, the orion / reason for papa b was really, really good tv. CS have taken lots of the blame for s4, IMO they did just fine in s4 vs s2, better, but still, they did fine, as did volkov vs roark. So the big change in s4 vs s2 was the spy story, OD is probably laughing at me, he has always contended this. ‘

      Nope but I am happy we agree on this point. 🙂

  14. Faith says:

    Some people are just really unlikeable. Not a pointed statement, just an honest one. Anyhoo back to your regularly scheduled programming. ;). Or..so..Colonel huh? Awesome.

  15. Sam Carter says:

    “I submit to those who loved s3 and did not love s4, that intensity of dislike was why season 3 failed and season 4 did not, although season 4 did indeed elicit dislike, most those fans voiced criticism or even left the show with a whimper, not the with the kicking and screaming of s3′s ‘crazy’ fans.”

    I think the show does drama and suspense quite well. I loved Chuck’s story, his development as a person/spy, and the spy story/mythology of the show. That’s the main reason I watched the show. The comedy was/is mostly very good too. The romance in the show –Chuck and Sarah’s relationship– was never my main interest. Still isn’t. So for me S4 was a failure. I enjoyed the other season just fine.

    • Sam Carter says:

      I meant to say ‘seasons.’

      Also, I don’t think the dislike for S3 is as big as some here think. Of course the hardcore C/S shippers were very upset with some of the developments of S3, but I really don’t think those people are the mojority of the fanbase. They’re very vocal though. In my experience, most people watch the show because is very entertaining and charming as a whole. Sadly, S4 was not that entertaining to me. And the only reason I’ll give S5 a chance is because of Mark freakin Hamill.

      • JC says:

        Fair enough but just because someone didn’t like S3 doesn’t make them a hardcore shipper either. Just as many people who could care less the C/S relationship including myself found S3 to be terrible. .

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah JC, I’ve got a friend who’s all about the comedy who also found S3 to be a miserable experience.

  16. Amron says:

    I’m with BigKev and every other who says S3 was not a complete failure and how S4 was. Since my personal point of view, I felt in love with the show because its variety and THE STORY. Charah was a plus that I enjoy, but it’s not my primary objective. In fact, I have to say this: I enjoyed all S3! (Ha! I felt as if I jumped out of the closet…) Chuck becoming a spy was a need in the storytelling, if not we will be stuck in the “stay in the car” routine, and the dark tone of it was also needed. Why? They show us the spy world not only as dangerous, but also as something… well, not nice at all (remember “Santa Claus” ending, for a clear example), so obviously, the tone needed to change, Chuck as a character needed to lose himself as everybody who entered that world. Sarah too, because if Chuck didn’t knew who he was, Sarah, who by the time, as the review of this chapter said, based her life around Chuck and not into the CIA anymore, would do the same. Yes, maybe the Misery Arc (thank again for putting this term into “Lingo and Acronyms” section) was extremely angst, but it paid off with the Guitar Hero scene and Honeymooners. So yes, it was a good story even with S3… until they started wit S4. They focused so hard in Charah that they forgot this was not a romantic comedy and neglected the story: with the Orion saga, they show us clues since vs the Cougars (about how Chuck confronted his daddy issues). With Frost, they seemed like they didn’t had planned to made Mary a good or a bad guy. And the Gretas! C’mon, if the season had ended at “Push Mix”, they wouldn’t explain us what the heck they are! And that brings us to my main concern: the Intersect. Two seasons watching how Chuck tried to remove the Intersect from his head and with a simple PSP it was gone! And then, three chapters before, it is back… And not only that, they also transform it into a database that everybody could handle: we had more Intersect Agents that any season before. And they show us, at S3 finale how Chuck become into a competent spy and then the writers transform him into a regular guy again when he lose the Intersect. He’s helpless again! Not awesome… Oh, and there is the Volkoff issue… can anybody could tell my why, if Mary was a good guy who abandoned her kids to protect them from Volkoff, she sent Chuck to find Tuttle? I loved Timothy Dalton’s performance, but it didn’t help with the story at all. And the Morgansect. I was so against the idea when I first saw it. (He! In fact, I shouted “No!” so hard that my roomie thought something bad had happened to me) but after watched the Comic Con panel, I think is a good, funny idea. I mean, if they already ruined the Intersect mithology why not take advantage? That way they will close the circle: Morgan becoming Chuck’s padawan is a good call.
    And, as you can see, I will be very disappointed if in the first chapter they didn’t give us A LOT of Star Wars references…

    • Sam Carter says:

      @Amron: S3 was not a failure to me at all. In fact, I love it, it’s my fave season! 🙂 And Shaw is my favorite villain as well, very earnest and haunting. I think Routh did a good job overall. I also liked Dalton’s performance, but his character was too cortoony for me, just way too campy, imo. Linda just didn’t do nothing for me, and her story was a big mess, IMO.

    • atcDave says:

      I think a lot of what people describe as serious spy story about S3 has more to do with the show conforming to current spy fiction standards than anything approaching reality. That’s a huge part of why I reject it. Although we previously knew Beckman and Graham were corrupt and immoral individuals (bunkering or killing an innocent civilian with no due process); the whole Red Test idea of S3 was purly the stuff of pulp fiction. And it was destructive to the established Chuck mythos too; in particular, it is still almost impossible to justify it with the Sarah Walker who wanted to be a “good spy.” While I do appreciate that difficult decisions would likely have to be made in that business (the Mauser shooting struck me as an excellent example of that) I do not accept something completely illegal like a Red Test as a matter of institutional policy. It is pulp fiction, period.

      Now telling outrageous stories is the fun of Chuck. I’m all on board with that. Any particular outrageous story either works or doesn’t work for the viewer. But to me, S3 is the season Chuck tried to be like every other spy story on television by presenting dark thematic elements, moral ambiguity, anguished and conflicted heroes, and wt/wt that won’t end until the season does. I had previously thought more highly of TPTB’s creativity and originality. I see it as a season long exorcise of running in place; waste 13 episodes to end where they should have started it. Very boring stuff.
      But then to me its all about the CHARACTERS. Story only exists to serve the characters. Don’t get me wrong, you have to have a story and shows that neglect that too much are boring too; but as long as the characters are worthy, the story comes second. And I think Chuck has generally gotten that part exactly right. I mean how many casual viewers even remember what Heather Chandler’s nefarious deeds were? or why exactly did Chuck need to be the greatest Missile Command player ever? The “story” was far more about the characters and their growth than it was about the spy mission.

      And Amron I think we figured out long ago you were an S3 fan. There is no shame in that, in fact, its pretty obvious that today on this site you in the majority. I think I’m the only unrepentant ‘shipper on-line today!

      • jason says:

        dave – u aren’t the only shipper, but I have found little of any debate to be had today, simply saying I liked season 3 and disliked season 4 or visa versa is not remarkable insight into tv blogging, but both are perfectly legitimate opinions to be had. As I blogged earlier today, going into season 3, near 100% of chuck fans liked the way the show was written, it is not shocking that X% accepted the premise and theme of s3 , while Y % rejected the season, given that even TPTB knew the season was going to be controversial. How big are X versus Y, who knows, who cares. How many of those fans watched season 4 and became XX’s, or XY’s or YX’s or YY’s, again, who knows? If I had to hazard a guess, very few fans are still with the show if they are YY’s, i.e. rejected both seasons 3 & 4. Here is another tidbit, the closest thing we have among our regular fans to a XX – accepted both seasons, might be joe, maybe ernie (ernie this is meant as a compliment, so do not take offense!), certainly you, I, think, and faith are YX’s, I am not sure about Amy, but she seems pretty happy about chuck, and she had far more important worries than X > Y or XX < XY < YX – hahaha – enough geeky math jokes already!

      • atcDave says:

        Math humor…Awesome!

      • Amron says:

        Hehehe! This has to be a miracle! Us XY being majority in this site for one day! I need to celebrate… 😀

      • BigKev67 says:

        Jason,
        I don’t think I’m a YY – I’m more of a “Why? Why?”…. 🙂

  17. Wilf says:

    Why, Why. Why, that’s exactly what Chuck said in “Honeymooners” in the train carriage when Beckman rang him!

  18. jason says:

    should be starting to shoot episode 3 right around now, probably are into writing 6 or 7 or even 8, barring some miracle, not much show left to influence as bloggers – as if we ever had any influence at all.

    When we were told that s5 would go back to the roots and resemble more s1 (I think that is close to how it was worded), does anyone know what that means? More comedy, more buymore drama, more procedurals, less worry about chuck and sarah the couple, more ellie and awesome, more intersect failures than successes (with captain morgan at the helm?), more ‘smart’ chuck than james bond chuck, CIA as possibly the main villain, would be a few guesses?

    Interestingly, the promise of decker and a tie up the five seasons plot seems to fly in the face of ‘more like season 1’ – at least given my understanding of it all. Since I know fedak is an alias buff, I am still betting the Graham, beckman, or someone else is an arvin sloan type character running a rogue CIA outfit that has been manipulating Chuck, that in the end hart to hart vs the a team will bring down. The only real ? is anyone on the inside a member of the bad guys – the list of candidates is pretty small, casey, sarah, morgan, awesome, ellie, jeff, lester, big mike is the paid weekly cast – I think only one or two of those actors are candidates to be the traitor orchestrating the big bad’s plans.

    As far as s3 vs s4, I can’t change either season, nor can I change how passionately unhappy I was with s3, nor how satisfying s4’s consistent march to the wedding vows was to me, at some point, rehashing the same topic over and over seems pointless.

    • atcDave says:

      I can think of two main ways S5 may be more like S1; first off, Chuck having to use his brains and not being able to fall back “flashing” to solve every problem (I REALLY am looking forward to that part). The second being the government being a threat to Chuck again. Oh, it will be 13 episodes long too(!). A few obvious big differences though, Chuck will be a lot more sure about who his friends are, and his friends and family will mostly know what’s going on instead of being in the dark. Other than that I can’t really guess.

      And for the record Jason, I’m tired of the S3 vs S4 discussions too; but there are certain statements I will not leave unchallenged, like the idea S3 was in some way qualitatively superior. Preferences between the two are exactly that: preferences.

    • Faith says:

      I believe you were the one that pointed out that we should appreciate what we have because Chuck will be gone sooner than we think. With the set end date (13, final episodes) maybe it is time to leave the grievances behind and just appreciate. I know I’ll continue to criticize and stress for the importance of this and that but I won’t ever forget that this is it.

      With all that said, I came across this article (written back during Last Details) that addresses the future and what we all hope very well:

      “But does it have that many loose ends to begin with? Now that the show has let virtually every other character in on Chuck’s secret (or every character we wanted to learn about that secret) and now that Chuck and Sarah are on their way to the altar, there aren’t a great deal of things still hanging over the show. Some of this has come about because the show has aired so many potential series finales over the years (since at least the midpoint of Season Three), but there still isn’t a great dramatic impetus driving the characters forward. The story of “Chuck” is all but done, especially once Chuck and Sarah are married.
      That said, would I stop watching the show if it came back for a fifth season, one specifically billed as the end? Probably not. Many of the problems of seasons Three and Four have stemmed from the unusual episode orders NBC keeps tossing at the show. With a set number of episodes and a set end-date, the show could likely come up with a sweet story that lets us know what all of the characters are going to be up to in the years to come (when we’re not watching them). It could also come up with some fun standalones and so on. That said, the show’s budget would likely be so low if it returned that every episode would be a standalone on the BuyMore set, where Captain Awesome talked about the virtues of his awesome minivan. Is that a show I want to see? I’m not as sure about that.
      Regardless, when I write my piece next week at this time, we’ll know whether the series is coming back or not. If it does, well, we’ll watch those episodes, I’d assume. And if it doesn’t, we’ll certainly have our memories of the show as it was. Even if it was never able to rise again to that Season Two level, it’s never been anything less than pleasant. And that’s not nothing.”

      Well said. The only thing I disagree about was the “now that Chuck and Sarah are married that story is sewn up” aspect but otherwise I largely agree.

      (source: LA Times)

      • Sam Carter says:

        “…And if it doesn’t, we’ll certainly have our memories of the show as it was. Even if it was never able to rise again to that Season Two level, it’s never been anything less than pleasant. And that’s not nothing.”

        Just another person’s opinion. Nothing more. To me S3 was able to rise to that level of S2 and it even got bette. Episodes like Operation Awesome, American Hero, Subway, Ring2, Beard and especially Other Guy are proof to me that the show was as good as ever. Sure, the production values were lower and it showed in some eps, but the stakes, for instance, were higher in S3 than ever before, the tension, emotion and suspense were stronger than ever before, IMO. The acting and everything else was just as good. But that’s just me.

        I will sort of agree with his opinion of Chuck and Sarah, though. S4 was proof to me that the show doesn’t have a good idea of how to handle their relationship properly. Maybe is the new writers who don’t know the characters well, I don’t know, but to me they were a boring and very cheesy couple on S4. Some of the dialogue and situations read like fanfic to me.

    • thinkling says:

      Interesting thoughts, Jason, Dave. I’m looking forward to the CIA conspiracy and the CIA being somewhere between threat and enemy. You were right, Dave, that some of the lack of tension was because there was no more bunker/kill threat.

      I look forward to more Ellie and Awesome and them both being in the know. I think MamaB will still be around, which is always a plus to me. I see fun things ahead, and I’m a little less worried about Morgansect, but that could change.

      Jason, I can’t figure who on the inside would be the manipulator. Beckman is the only one old enough, besides MamaB, and I think she is a manipulat-ee. I would vote for Graham, who has someone still doing his dirty work.

      • jason says:

        think – if there is a traitor on the inside – it would near have to be sarah – she is pretty much the only character who TPTB seem to be able to write dramatically – I don’t think realistically any other cast member would even make sense (other than casey) as everyone else is a bafoon – for those who want chuck to be serious, sarah betraying everyone would probably be a touching moment – LOL

        funny – I sort of don’t care that much any longer about s5’s chuck and sarah vs the world, seems it WILL NOT HAPPEN, I got s4 the way I wanted I am going to settle for that – I’m honestly now interested in what fedak does with these last 13 eps – in lots of ways – this is HIS chance to show us what he thinks of his show – I’m curious what he thinks – he has gotten all the data, all the feedback, does he love chuck and sarah the way many of us shippers do or not? I am pretty sure he does – it wouldn’t be any fun if we were positive, would it??????

      • ArmySFC says:

        jason, i agree with what you say about sarah near having to be the insider based on your spec. i take a different route to get there. from the pilot on, sarah has been the one keeping chuck out of the bunker or getting waxed. if you plan to use someone like decker implied, what good is that person in a bunker or dead? not much i can tell ya. the person would need to be out and about. which brings us back to sarah. even grahm told her to split in the pilot and leave chuck to casey. so id rule casey and grahm out. didn’t beckman put the kill order out that was interupted? now my long shot would be morgan. in the cliffhanger after decker made his speach, morgan made the comment to chuck that he was always the driver. throw away line or foreboding one? time will tell, but thats my idea of the dark horse insider. i don’t think they will mess with C/S but what better way to spice it up than have chuck’s life long buddy betray him?

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t see any way Sarah can be shown as an actual traitor. If she has any involvement in dark schemes, it will be because she was manipulated too. And I can’t see more than one episode being devoted to that sort of angst. I think the puppet masters will be some totally new element. Graham would have been a good choice, but even if he was involved or guilty in some way, I don’t believe they’ll bring him back from the dead.

      • thinkling says:

        Right, Dave. The PM has to be much older than anyone of TeamB. They’ve been at it for 30 years. TeamB are the ones who have been manipulated.

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave, good point, however i don’t believe jason or i were making her a traitor. we knew all along chuck was special. maybe the plans were to get chuck involved from the start? to actually be an agent? just because she changed as the show went along, doesn’t mean they can’t retcon her being assigned on purpose, to help him along so to speak (with out using sex). it would also help explain why she resisted so long, lol. just wild thoughts by the way.

      • Amron says:

        I agree, if Sarah is the traitor, it will be because she is trying to protect Chuck and her new family. Now Morgan… I don’t believe he is the dark horse, however I can see a plot were Morgan is being paranoid about Chuck retaining him because, in Morgan’s mind, he’s jealous because he’s now the Intersect and then join Decker… I don’t know, it’s just a thought…

  19. Gord says:

    One thing, you mentioned in your review that you really didn’t follow up on was the “one mission at a time” comment by Sarah.
    My thought on why she said that, was because she knew that they would be caught. She was just hoping that they wouldn’t be caught until after they had rescued Chuck’s dad – as she had stated to Casey when they had that standoff at the car.

    To me it was her making an amazing sacrifice because of her love for Chuck. This episode is amongst my all-time favourites along with Other Guy, Phase 3, and Push Mix although with Push Mix, I realy like to think of the Balcony/Gobbler/Push Mix story as a whole (my favourite story arc of the series so far).

  20. Gord says:

    With respect to S3 and S4 – I enjoy some of the dark stuff as much as I enjoy the light stuff but I didn’t like the dark stuff extended over such a long period of time in S3. I can sit down and watch just about any episode of S3 Chuck and enjoy it (not so much Mask). I especially liked Angel, OP Awesome, Nacho Sampler, Beard and Tic Tac from the early portion of the season – and thouight S3 was fantastic from American Hero until the end of the season. I do have a problem watching that long stretch from Pink Slip to American hero in sequence. S3 at this point is my least favourite season – but it doesn’t mean the show was really bad.

    As for S4, not all of it was great, but as a whole I loved the season and to me it was the second best season of Chuck so far (S2 being the best in my mind) and it probably would have been my favourite except for the Morgansect ending and the way they handled the Chuck/Sarah wedding. Also to me it was the funnest season of Chuck. One of the major things that made it the funnest season of Chuck is that Sarah was in on the fun much more. I especially liked the Morgan/Sarah interactions in Balcony and Masquerade. I also loved her going Bridezilla at the end of First Bank.

    I do love the lighter Chuck episodes, but they are not necessarily always my most favourite episodes. For example – I really thought 3D was a fun episode – but it isn’t a favourite and conversely Subway/Ring 2 was pretty serious but it is amongst my favourites.

    I think that with Morgansect they are ruining one of the key aspects of what makes Chuck a great show, but there are a lot of aspects to S5 I am looking forward to – especially the Casey/Verbanski arc. So I’m hopeing my aversion to the Morgansect will be outweighed by those aspects that I am looking forward to.
    Whatever happens in S5, when I look back on Chuck I will always think of it as a very special show. It stands out amongst all the shows that have come before it, and likely amongst all those that will come after.

    Chuck has been a unique viewing experience, and although I hate to see it ending, I’m glad to see it ending on it’s own terms.

    I just can’t wait for the prequel show – CAT Squad.

    • jason says:

      Gord, don’t know if you read the geometry of chuck fandom, but you are the best sort of fan, an XX’er (liked both season 3 and season 4, as opposed to YX’ers or XY’ers). You know if you, Joe and others like you also enjoy season 5, you will be rated XXX – ohoh!

    • atcDave says:

      I’d agree with most of that Gord, except the number of specific S3 episodes I can actually enjoy is considerably fewer!
      In some ways I rate S2 and S4 as nearly a tie; I do appreciate the higher production values and solid story of S2. But I think the pure joy of S4 gives it slight edge as my favorite.
      But certainly the overall Chuck experience has been very good. No other show has ever occupied as much of my thought life or been so much fun for so long. I also have some concerns for S5, but I’m 80% sure I’ll love every episode (that’s a very scientifically made up statistic by the way)!

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