Summer Re-Watch 4.21: Who’s Conning Who?

Gary Cole is Jack Burton

Today’s recap/review is Chuck vs. the Wedding Planner.  I missed out on the first go round of discussions, so hopefully my thoughts are moderately original.  As I rewatched the episode, I kept coming back to this thought:  if you know all the cons, you can never be a sucker, but in this episode, just who is conning who?  More after the break.


Amy’s Insights

First let me say I love this episode.  I loved DeLorean too, which makes this episode all the better for me.  Jack Burton is one of those characters I have grown to love, in spite of myself.  I say that because quintessentially, Jack is a bad guy.  He cons people and is a thief.  I know, I know, a good con man can leave town whenever he wants to.  I guess we can discuss that more later.

Daphne Peralta, The Wedding Planner

So on to the heart of the matter:  who is conning who?  We start with Daphne Peralta, wedding planner and con woman extraordinaire.  She manages to con Sarah (and a lot of others, but since Sarah is supposed to be an expert on these things, it makes it all the worse) and Chuck out of their money.

This leads Sarah to Jack.  The whole exchange was excellent.  Sarah lighting up while talking about Chuck and subconsciously fingering where her ring is supposed to be.  Talk about a “tell.”  Jack shocked that she is still in Burbank, with the schnook, and having already figured out (snooped in her purse) that she is CIA.  What else is his daughter with holding from him?

Jack stays one step ahead of everyone for the rest of the episode.  From swiping Sarah’s drivers license to find her place, to manipulating Devon and finding out about the wedding, to the daddy-daughter dance at the wedding reception con, Jack has things figured out.  I thought the dance exchange was a bit manipulative on Jack’s part.  I would have preferred if he had started out by saying the piece about dancing with his daughter at a wedding and then saying he was sorry he couldn’t make her and Chuck’s wedding.  I just didn’t like Sarah having to feel bad about being happy and finding a life and great love.  Maybe I’m being nitpicky, but that part just feels off to me.  Moving on from that, Jack’s speech to Papa Klüg regarding daughters and being bad fathers was on target.  An added bonus was Kathleen getting to see Casey as the hero that he really is, up close and personal.

A Note To Sarah

The final straw is dinner at the Bartowski-Walker residence.  Sarah doesn’t dare to hope that Jack will be there for her, when she arrives home for dinner or in life, because when you know all the cons you can never be a sucker.  You see Sarah’s walls start to go back up, only to be slowed by her supportive, articulate schnook.  Chuck is disappointed for her and is there to comfort her.  His not saying a word and just holding her said all it needed to-he wasn’t going anywhere and she could count on him.  The final redemptive moment was Jack’s note to Sarah.  I think Yvonne played it so well. It struck me that not only did Jack approve, but he saw the goodness in Chuck and that they had their adventures, but in a different (and CIA sanctioned) way.  His note made me want to cry-in a good way.

Joe’s $0.02

Amy, you like Jack in spite of yourself. But let me tell ya, I like him period! The man’s a hoot, as is this episode.

Chuck vs. The Wedding Planner starts in 1988 with a young (about 8 years old, but we know how TPTB like to mess with the time line on occasion) Sarah Walker showing us “The Cookie Con”. Dad’s taught her well! The little tyke’s got it down and knows how to extract every last cent from the – ahem – customer. The take this week is something like $2K, and lil’ Sarah’s even managed to put away some of that, her allowance, in her piggy bank.

A piggy bank? Yup. It’s for her future adventures with her dad.

Back in the present, our fav. couple sealing the deal with one Daphne Peralta (played by the underrated Lisa LoCicero). It takes about 30 seconds before they’re handing her a check for more than ten times the amount little Sarah cleared in 1988; $26,230 to be exact. You can just see Chuck’s thought bubble. “Wow… that’s everything. Sarah is worth it (sigh).”

Sarah the Chump?

Daphne is, apparently, ten times the con artist that Sarah was because C&S discover that Daphne has disappeared into the ether with their money. We’re left with the horrible feeling that Chuck is still this naive waif who is always going to be a victim, and Sarah has changed so much that she’s now as much of a wimp as he.

For about 5 seconds!

Chuck: I just don’t understand. She came so highly recommended – by the Internet!
Sarah: I should have seen this coming. She asked for our money up front; she gave us a 40% discount! You know, there is such a thing… I am not a chump – or a sucker!
Chuck: Well, me neither. I mean, we’re not a couple of sappy, helpless lovebirds.
Sarah: Yeah. That’s right. We’re CIA agents. Daphne Peralta – she chose the wrong couple to con.
Chuck: That’s us. Right, honey?
Sarah: Of course I mean us!

Heh! They’re not vicious, but Daphne still picked the wrong couple to con. And that’s the wonderful tone that pervades the entire episode, starting with Jack.

Now it’s time for a story. I had a friend once who did Tarot readings. For me, she pulled a card she called “The Thief” and then proceeded to laugh and laugh. I don’t believe in that kind of stuff myself, but I was still a little chagrined to be associated with that. At least, I was until she explained to me me that it’s not necessarily a negative thing. Everyone operates to their own advantage sometimes. But when it’s combined with “strength” (apparently another card I drew), that made me a “rogue agent”. The Rogue always has insider knowledge that lets the group go beyond it’s intended aims, she said.

Doesn’t that describe Jack perfectly? Told you I like him! He initially turns down Sarah’s request for help, but not after discovering that Sarah’s gone from being a con to being a mark, and that she’s a CIA agent to boot. That’s gotta be Chuck’s fault, right?

[Now imagine Joe grabbing Jack by the lapels and saying “Hey, Jack! At least she’s done *something*. You’re still trying to sell the Nakamichi Complex like you were two years ago!”]

It’s okay. I’ve calmed down. Jack has a change of heart and comes to Burbank to help his daughter and to find out why she keeps pulling on her ring finger. When it comes to Sarah, no one stands between them, not even “grandma”. It’s heartwarming, in a very Burton sort of way.

Very Bright and Very Sour!

And Sarah convincing Chuck to fake a flash is hilarious. She describes him as somewhere between seeing a very bright light and tasting something very sour, and then proceeds to make the funniest “flash-face” ever. You can’t help but smile. Beckman, however, isn’t quite so amused when she discovers that she’s been conned by her own agents into allocating resources from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI into finding Peralta.

They get her, too. But that’s only the beginning of the adventure.

Daphne’s got a client list that includes the Brothers Klüg and their dangerous father, who are Hungarian scientists and Iranian spies selling “The Zephyr”, a device with all of Iran’s nuclear research on it. Key fact #1, it’s portable. Key fact #2, one of the brothers always has it on him, and they are never in the same place at the same time.

It’s a shell game! Sarah’s been teaching that game to her (stuffed animal) friends for years. The trick is to get the brothers to come to their sister’s wedding, a wedding that Daphne had no intention of throwing. The second trick is to find the package. If you’ve ever seen the shell game played, you know that where ever the package is, it’s not under one of the shells. Who reminds Sarah of this? Why, her father, of course.

I could wax poetic for hours about the scenes in the wedding hall. The music that DJ Carmichael chooses is perfect – The Bomb by Pigeon John, What I Like About You by The Romantics and the classic At Last by Etta James. That’s the music Jack and Sarah dance to. He always was a hell of a dancer, you know.

Sarah the Wedding Planner

But all of that is overshadowed by the hilarity of Sarah becoming a wedding planner herself, complete with Daphne’s accent. Sigh. Is it me? Or is Yvonne doing any accent the best thing ever???

We can’t leave scene without mentioning Casey. When we left Casey and Alex in the previous episode, they had decided to tell Kathleen that Casey was still alive, and sure enough, Alex has brought her into the Buy More to meet again after nearly twenty years. But that’s not the way Casey wants Kathleen to see him, as an overgrown stock boy in the Buy More.

That is what she sees, though, and Casey has no opportunity to explain. I’m not sure he has the inclination, either. He’s a proud man, after all, and apologizing for anything in his life, including the Buy More, simply isn’t in him.

It’s not Casey’s time to be a hero either. He doesn’t need to prove himself. He does need to be a father, though. The father Klüg has taken the most vulnerable member of Team B hostage, Morgan, and it’s Jack, not Casey who knows where his soft spot is.

Klüg: You wouldn’t risk partner’s life. You won’t pull trigger.
Jack: You couldn’t be more wrong, my friend. Listen. Can I call you ‘friend’?
Chuck: What is your dad doing?
Sarah: Just give him a minute.
Jack: This man is going to shoot you and he is not going to miss. But I’m hoping that he doesn’t have to kill you. You see, I – I’ve got a daughter too. [points to Sarah] And based on the situation here, I’m thinkin’ you’re not the best father in the world. Heh! Join the club. I guess the only thing we can really hope for is that someday our little girls might be happy despite us. And yours is. She’s upstairs right now, in her white dress. Here you are, about to take a bullet in the head. So, do one thing for her, friend. Put the gun down.

Like I said, I like Jack.

Chuck wants Jack to stay for the wedding. At least, he wants Jack to stay for dinner. Sarah knows better. Her life with him has been that kind of disappointment. It’s hard (read: impossible) to think that Jack has been a good father, and he’s not a man who’s going to change. He also knows that “The Schnook” is looking out for his princess, and she’ll be all right with him – there’s no reason to stick around.

Father-Daughter Dance


But Jack’s not been neglecting his daughter. He’s been filling her piggy bank for twenty years, not spending a penny of that money. Sarah will get to have her white wedding, we know.
I have to ask: is Jack a bad father? Maybe. But Sarah loves him. That’s good enough for me.

I love you like grave danger
Like moon shining disguise
Mmm hmm
When I wake up with your makeup
And spread blush cross the sky

Like a meteor crush
I’ma tell the world
Been a million years full of tears
But I found my girl

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About amyabn

My name is Amy and I'm in the active Army as my profession. I love the show Chuck and want to see it succeed for many seasons to come. My twitter handle is amyabn.
This entry was posted in Music, Observations, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to Summer Re-Watch 4.21: Who’s Conning Who?

  1. joe says:

    Hum… There’s music right below the fold too. But my eye doesn’t want to see it. That’s because of the photo of Gary Cole up top. Sorry!

    Wouldn’t want you all to miss out on the full experience! 😉

  2. atcDave says:

    Great write-up you guys; especially nice to see Amy back in action!

    This really was a wonderful episode, easily one of the best of a strong season. Jack is a lovable rogue; I think largely because, for all his shortcomings, he does love his daughter. I’m not shy about being a big fan of any episode that is so Sarah centered; and this is one of the best in that regard. We get more funny Sarah than usual (of course, we’ve said that a few times this season) from the fake flash to all its fall out (both the reactions to Daphne’s picture going up for a nation-wide search and the nervous wave after Daphne is apprehended are priceless) to Sarah’s own impersonation of Daphne (Joe is right about Yvonne and the accents; is there any such voice she can’t do?).
    Add to that the very sweet dance scene and the final moment with Sarah and a piggy bank; and this a completely irresistible episode. The whole cast dynamite; Zach and Josh both doing well with comic moments throughout. And best of all, the two biggest hams in the cast know when to back off and let someone else take center stage.

    • joe says:

      Joe is right about Yvonne and the accents; is there any such voice she can’t do?

      I’ve heard that Yvonne’s a little weak with Serbo-Croatian, but I have my doubts about that. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Isn’t that in the same family as Polish? Obviously an unfounded and slanderous rumor! We know she doesn’t know Klingon, but not sure if that really counts anyway…

      • joe says:

        It must be a tough accent!

        Yeah, she doesn’t do Klingon. It’s important to realize how much Chuck makes up for Sarah’s deficiencies.

        😉

      • atcDave says:

        Yes, truly they complete each other!

      • thinkling says:

        Her Texan was a little exaggerated, but I’m betting it was supposed to be.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t know Thinkling, my parents live in Texas and I’d say “not by very much!” Yeah a lot of what they all do is a bit exaggerated; like Sarah’s flash face….

      • thinkling says:

        I lived in TX for 7 years, maybe a softer region. No matter, it was so much fun to watch.

  3. jason says:

    Amy – I like delorean more than most fans, still a top 5 ever ep for me, even though it gets harder to stay on that list with the pilot, as eps like the honeymooners, phase two, push mix, and cliffhanger come along. wedding planner does not quite crowd into that short list for me, but I sure did enjoy it. You said something here:

    “I just didn’t like Sarah having to feel bad about being happy and finding a life and great love” – that seemed off to me too, jack sort of scolding her for not aspiring to be be a life long grifter, con artist and thief like him. one thing I love about this site, is often someone will chime in with some explanation why jack didn’t really mean his disapproval, but such an important scene, the dance, and it had to have those lines in there, I see no value, other than to make the moment less special. Plus, the dance got cut off or ended sort of clumsily, probably again have to write it off to TPTB not quite getting how much fans like sarah.

    Loved Kathleen too, hope that is casey’s end game in s5, I would not count on it, as if sarah has been pushed too far to the back of the bus, casey is running to even get a ride (poor big mike, his impending marriage to bolgnia grimes seems doomed for that same reason, and neither BM nor BG can run for very long to catch that bus, although in a short burst, the big man has shown some moves)

    Finally, a small thing that was one of my fav’s in the ep – when chuck went to sarah with morgan’s concern over red and black being a bad choice – something about ‘socialism’, and sarah’s repsonse – ‘in a good way’ – then quickly she dismissed the concern ‘You know I don’t want to make anything out of this, lets just call daphiene and see what she thinks’, and they both agreed to just call daphiene. Now I might be making too much of this nuance (heaven knows it wouldn’t be the first time), but it seems ever since that moment, morgan generated CS angst has been removed from the show. If that is so, it would be a homerun moment, OK, for now, in my imagination it is a home run moment.

    • joe says:

      Jason, those are good points.

      Amy’s gonna have her say about Jack making Sarah feel bad (Hey Amy! Are you battling Irene???) But please allow me to horn in on this.

      For me, Sarah’s relationship with Jack is overwhelmingly bittersweet. I’ve learned to expect disappointment. was what she said in DeLorean, and with Jack, that theme is constant.

      But with a show like Chuck, bittersweet is a strong flavor, even in low doses. It happens to be something that resonates with me. Indeed, sometimes I think that my favorite moments are the bittersweet ones. But the show is, at it’s heart, a romantic comedy and attracts fans who are in tune with that primarily.

      I don’t fear it’s overdone yet. It’s been an anchor that keeps the show from becoming a farce, I think. In a way, the usage reminds me of The Merry Wives of Windsor and Fulstaff.

      Ooh! I really short-changed Kathleen, too. But here, I do have a fear! I’m worried that Kathleen will not reappear in S5, to be supplanted by Gertrude Verbanski. I’m sure it’ll work out, but I was definitely getting caught up in the idea of Casey getting back together with Alex’s mom.

  4. JC says:

    Is Jack a bad father?

    i know this isn’t a popular opinion here but Jack is Ward Cleaver compared to Stephen and Mary. I see him as someone who at least tried to be a good father. He might not have taught Sarah what normal little girls learn but he tried to prepare her for the world he knew. And his separation from Sarah wasn’t by choice.

    • joe says:

      That’s food for thought, JC.

      It dawns on me too that nobody on this show fits the mold of a “classic” parent. Not Stephen & Mary, not Jack, not Casey, not Bolonia, not the Drs. Woodcomb. The kids turned out all right, though.

      I have my doubts that it works out that way in real life – I’m guessing that “loving unconditionally” is the first hurdle, not the last, to jump over to be a good parent.

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t think that’s such a controversial statement JC. Jack may well be the least bad of a bunch of bad parents on this show. But I think that does still leave him a bad parent; leaving your kid because you were sent to prison doesn’t quite get you off the hook!

    • ArmySFC says:

      is he a bad dad? to me yes. is he worse than the B’s, depends. is abandoning your child worse than involving her in crime? personal choice i guess on that one. his separation from sarah was his choice. he was a crook, white collar, but still a crook. he knew what the results would be if he got caught, yet he kept going. he made the choice to do what he did so in a round about way it was his choice.

    • thinkling says:

      My 2c: In the lot of bad parents, I guess I have to think Jack is at the bottom, even though he’s really likable, and has some good moments. He was a criminal and taught his daughter to be one. If he had applied his considerable abilities and charm in the work world, he surely would have succeeded. The Bartowski’s, on the other hand we pursuing noble endeavors and didn’t intend for their kids to be affected negatively. (Jack’s choices couldn’t have been seen as positive or noble.) They got caught in something noble that went sideways and was in many ways beyond their control. Before that, Ellie’s album shows a legacy of family love. Perhaps they could have turned things around, or maybe not. The end result was still two abandoned kids, but with at least a model to build on.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      IDK, but of the 3 parents we’ve met to date, he’s the best parent.

  5. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    Ah Wedding Planner. This episode here is why I watch Chuck. To me this episode was the highlight of the back 11.

    GC stepping back into the role of JB like he was regular on to show was outstanding. Not to mention the 4 + 1 Team B members working on the same mission. It was also no nice to get away from the Volkov angle.

    If all Chuck episodes were like this I’d be spoiled.

    • joe says:

      It’s a trait all the great guest stars seem to have, Shep. I mean, when I think of them, Chevy Chase, Scott Bakula, Matt Bomer, Linda Hamilton… they all seem like they’re born for the part. Better, it seems like they are their characters (which is the point of good acting, after all).

      Call it professionalism or the magic of theater. The good ones – they got it.

      I’ve got no doubt that I’ll be able to see Zac and Josh in some role in the future and not see Chuck and Morgan. It’ll be harder for me with Yvonne, but that’s because Sarah is so easy to love and so much harder to let go of. That’ll be her professional burden for a while.

  6. thinkling says:

    Amy, welcome back!!! Thanks to both of you for the music reminders and the great review of one of Chuck’s best ever.

    To me there’s not a wrong note in the whole episode. (oh, except for the van scene. I always skip it so I forget it’s there)

    I can’t say enough good about Wedding Planner. I loved the whole wedding con from start to finish. Obviously the last scene 10+ … and the comparison of the men in Sarah’s life and the contrast of fathers: Jack, Casey, Klug, and Devon. My take was a little different on the dance. Granted Sarah felt guilty (not guilty exactly, but not wanting to disappoint her dad) for her happiness, just the way she sort of felt bad over her career choice. But all wounds were healed by episode’s end. I thought Jack was genuinely wanting to be sure she was happy, because it was different from what she had said (adventures and all … she was her father’s daughter). Then the dance got interrupted. He got to finish telling her in the parking garage, letting her know that he was a bad father, but all he really wanted was for to be happy, despite him. The note and the piggy bank sealed the deal.

    Interesting how all 4 Sarah centric episodes make the top 10 of the series.

    • atcDave says:

      Exactly right about the four Sarah centric episodes. Even four seasons in, those four episodes are all outstanding.

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      Thanks for the write-up, Amy. This episode was a pleasure.

      @Thinkling and atcDave: ditto. (I should have a macro for this) I just hope TPTB have finally seen this correlation between Sarah-centric episodes and Chuck greatness.

  7. Cenodoxus says:

    I usually leave horrifically long comments here, and I’m going to try to break that habit.

    1. All Sarah-centric episodes have been stand-outs. Hint, hint, producers.

    2. I love how Sarah walked into the bedroom at the end to get a blanket (blink and you’ll miss it; it’s barely visible), which to me implies that, rather than obsess over the loss of their bank account, C&S were going to deal with the problem by cuddling on the living room couch. Aww.

    3. Who was it commented that Sarah had to have arrived home to an empty house? Someone, I forget who, observed that the difference between the men in her life is best exemplified here. She knows her father’s taken off. She also knows Chuck’s coming back.

    4. Chuck’s mix CD titles and images were great.

    5. I dearly wish Yvonne Strahovski were given more to do with the comedic elements of the show. She’s brilliant with them.

    6. “I just wanted to thank you guys for including me. I always wanted to pull a con.” Oh, Morgan.

    7. Interesting points above about whether Jack or Mary/Stephen were the better parents. And then of course, we haven’t the faintest idea who Sarah’s mother is …

  8. Faith says:

    Well done you too. A must read.

    Wedding Planner continues to be one of my top picks of the season, and in fact might have climbed somewhere in my top 15. It’s that good. Jack Burton is always a welcome guest, and not just because it opens up Sarah but because the guy is just too cool.

    • joe says:

      Heh! “Too cool.” That’s exactly right, Faith. He is.

      I just had a chance to re-watch Fear of Death. You remember – with Rob Riggle. That episode is the exact opposite of this one; Agent Rye is NOT cool. He’s what we used to call a dweeb.

      FOD is a good episode, in a limited way, for only one reason. It’s the set-up to Phase-3, and you can see Sarah moving towards that great passionate explosion. I didn’t know it at the time and missed it because of the consternation when she told Chuck that he wasn’t a spy. But Sarah’s about to steal the show and that makes FOD worth watching.

      – which ties this in with Cenodoxus’s comment above. Sarah-centric episodes are gold.

      • atcDave says:

        I love FOD for exactly that reason; you can see Sarah’s thoughts and fears bubbling right below the surface. She doesn’t care about the spy or the Intersect; she just wants Chuck to be safe. In the end, she blames herself for what happens (even though Rye is at least equally responsible), and we see the transformation to Giant Blonde She-Male begin.

      • thinkling says:

        I still say that Sarah was the only intelligent life form in FOD.

        But then there’s no safety net. Cracks me up every time.

        Now imagine Mary and Sarah double teaming Chuck on, say the night hawk.

      • joe says:

        Dave, I was going to wait until tomorrow to watch Phase-3 again. But your description was so good, I may just be forced to watch it right now. 😉

        I noted that FOD was, in tone at least, the opposite of The Wedding Planner. One is lighthearted, the other tense. One is farcical until gut-wrenching ending, the other heartwarming throughout. Only a show that good could make both work.

      • joe says:

        Well, Richard Chamberlin was pretty intelligent, in an understated way… 😉

        You’re right about the double-team of Mary & Sarah, Thinkling. Chuck would have no chance!

        But then there’s no safety net! indeed.

      • thinkling says:

        Oh, right. I wasn’t thinking outside the CIA.

  9. OldDarth says:

    FOD is the low point of the season. It is also makes for an appropriate acronym for the episode’s quality. 😉

    It is the Mask of S4. Contrived and illogical.

    So you want to set up a situation where Sarah has to rescue Chuck. Awesome! Go for it! But did it have to be done in such a blatantly lame manner.

    My dream scenario is for Phase 3 to have followed Season 2s – Chuck Vs the Fat Lady. In that one at the end I was actually in fear for Chuck. Of course, that was all lost in the first 5 minutes of the Gravitron.

    My least favorite episode of the entire series.

    • atcDave says:

      …and we’re back to not agreeing on anything at all.

    • Faith says:

      I wouldn’t go that far. but I do agree that FOD was awful.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow, I didn’t see a single awful episode in S4. Gobbler is probably my least favorite, and I’d still give it a 2.5 out of 4. I’d give FOD a 3. Rye was a FUNNY moron. Chuck was a little annoying for his determination to take foolish risks. And the government was pretty stupid, but they usually are on Chuck. I know it was generally an unpopular episode, but I had a good time with it.

      • Faith says:

        There are levels of awful Dave. While I wouldn’t equate it to Mask or worse, First Class, I would grade it at or below Beefcake. To me the only thing that’s really positive about it is the B-plot.

      • atcDave says:

        Interesting, I would agree that Mask and First Class are dreadful episodes. But I guess I would place Beefcake on that list too; I thought Beefcake was clearly the worst episode prior to S3. I can agree with FOD being one of the weaker S4 episodes (Anniversary, Leftovers, and Gobbler being the other lower ranked S4 episodes for me), but I would clearly rank it above any of those other three you mentioned.

    • ArmySFC says:

      OD maybe not the wost episode but definitely dreadful. for me it was the premise that made it bad. that it was mental. i me didn’t they show chuck and sarah as he got blocked by the psp? hello two smart people there. that’s my 2c anyway.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      Sorry Dave, but FOD was pretty bad. The true episode only started after Sarah told Chuck, “No! Your not!” (which is really the start of Phase 3). In fact the entire Intersectless arc was pretty useless in general, since it served no purpose, other than to make Chuck NOT look like a spy. Phase 3 was a great episode (one of my favorites), but Chuck could have been kidnapped WITH a functioning Intersect and Phase 3 still works.

      On a completely other note. FOD came after a truly angst filled episode, where we don’t want to believe the fate that TPTB are subjecting the characters to. After all the fan outcry in the prior season, you would think they would know better and explain clearly, through dialogue why it in necessary to put such lovable characters in dire peril. The sheep from 3.07 truly deserved a better fate.

  10. Sam Carter says:

    @Olddarth: “It is the Mask of S4. Contrived and illogical.”

    Contrived? Yes. And rushed. Illogical? Not really. Mask still had lots of fun moments, for me at least. Not a great episode at all, but enjoyable, imo.

    FOD was just all around awful and contrived and illogical.

    I actually enjoyed Wedding Planner.

  11. Sam Carter says:

    I just felt that FOD was really illogical because we were shown very clearly in S3 and even in Aniversary that Chuck IS a spy now! He’s pretty capable (Casey: Our boy is a spy. [Subway]). He may not be an absolute professional like the others yet, but he’s pretty good!

    • Harku says:

      I sometimes don’t get it, yes we were shown Chuck can be a spy with functioning intersect, but with intersect, taken away the situation changed dramatically. And no, Chuck wasn’t a spy in season 1/2, he sometimes was useful and saved the day thanks to his inteligence/luck, but he still was far cry from the full blown spy.

      So yes, this episode is not perfect, yes Agent Rye is total idiot and his theories are bunch of BS, but lately discussed Star Trek series often used the device of “officials” making life difficult for our heroes or not acting smart and that was one of the cases.

      But it did few things well, it showed how both Chuck and Sarah feel and one of the problems for me of S3 was exactly that, we didn’t get a good insights into our heroes heads and this episode did just that. So Chuck doesn’t feel worthy of both Sarah and his job at the CIA without the intersect and he is willing to do anything to feel worthy again, even to listen a bad advice. Sarah also needed a good motivator to be worried about Chuck, to show us what she fears, what is important to her and give her reason to be pushed over the edge, since they couldn’t make her worried about his with fully functioning intersect, because it wouldn’t be believable.

      So this episode was mostly a setup for Phase Three, but it also gave us an insight into our characters that season 3 barely did. And it also was much more powerful later on when Sarah said to Chuck she loved him with or without an intersect…so i completly disagree that it wouldn’t make a difference if Chuck was kidnapped with an intersect.

      P.S i agree that intersectless arc was overall a copuot, since it didn’t do anything beside giving Sarah good character progression, but i fully believe that the reason for this arc being cut short was the extended episode order, since they probably couldn’t take the characters where they planned to take them, so they reworked the story and give Chuck interesect back fasted than they planned.

      • joe says:

        Insightful, Harku. I really agree with your description of FOD and it’s intent.

      • ArmySFC says:

        i don’t know if the added episodes were a factor at all. they got the word on the new episodes around the 18th of oct. the episode aired on the 15th of nov. i think it was most likely done with production by then. if they weren’t done it would be far to close to change what they had planned out.

      • atcDave says:

        I’d also agree with your FOD comments Harku. I’m not sure about the effect of the back order. Hopefully, Chuck minus Intersect will be better conceived and received for S5!

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, interesting point about how intersectless chuck will be received. judging from the reaction from fans during season 4, not well, it was one of the things that drove folks nuts. add to the the loud and poor response to morgan getting the intersect, it would have been a good idea to listen to the fans as you like to say. what’s worse is there is no reason for them to listen this year, chucks getting closed out at the end of the season so they can tell the story they want. good or bad it’s over.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        Agreed, as far as showing character motivations.

      • atcDave says:

        Army I actually do hope they are listening to fans and avoid much of what we’re worried about for S5. You’re right, that’s exactly what I’ve been talking about with fan feedback. To me, that doesn’t categorically mean Chuck has to get the Intersect back; I’d be just as happy if he proved to be a brilliant planner and knew just enough self defense to survive until his back-up arrived! But I suspect many fans feel more strongly about the Intersect, and I think they probably need to restore it in Chuck if they’re going to keep most the fans happy.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, the show you just described is pretty much how white collar is.

      • Harku says:

        They got the info about the extended order during filming of episode 9, maybe producers knew a little ealier. So there was no time to drastically alter episode 10, so they only added the whole Chuck getting intersect back at the end, with little explanation. Then with more time they reworked episodes 11-13 far more, but when i look back at it they would work much better with Chuck without the intersect.

        That is how i imagined story would go if the season ended at episode 13.

        So Chuck not getting intersect back in episode 10, Mama B is still in Volkoff clutches. Sarah sees all this that he wants his mother back, but without his powers he feel helpless and unhappy that he can’t do anything about his situation. So she decides to go save his mother because she loves him, feels that is really important to him and because she is “Sarah Walker and she can do anything”. But ofc she doesn’t realise that loosing her would be even worse for him then loosing his mother.

        But since Sarah is not the same woman she used to be, she can’t do some things that are required to get job done, it gets her into trouble, maybe even get hurt (i also firmly believe that Sarah was planned to be out of action in the finale, that’s why she had really limited role in Push Mix and it was just moved to episode 24) and now it’s up to Chuck without intersect with help of Morgan/Casey to defeat Volkoff and save Sarah, that would give Chuck his ultimate hero moment of doing all this without the additional powers. It would also fit Sarah journey into real girl, since it would show how much she has changed and that she is no longer the cold spy she used to be without disservicing her character like imo season 3 did.

        It would also allowed to sell MamaB story better and show her as someone who got lost in the spy world, she was undercover for so long, that she no longer knew how to live the other, normal live, so she didn’t want to get out.

        In the end Chuck without the intersect would quit the spy world and so would Sarah since she realised how much she changed and how badly spy world can influence you (by MamaB example). The season would end with Chuck/Sarah eloping.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Harku, good points. the press release that i read was put out on the 19th of oct. so if thats when they were filming ep 9 ill agree. however the pivotal part of that arc was when chuck flashed on the eyeball. that lead him to the dudes that built it, which lead to his plan, which got him to sarah which lead to the captured volkoff. i’m sure it could have been done different, but seems like an awful lot to change in a short time. i think that the only thing that got pushed back was the engagement from 11 to 13 and they removed the original plan to have them elope in 13 (rumors are going around about that so not factual).

        there has been a lot of talk today on how season 3 fundamentally changed the show. chuck not having the intersect does that for me. there are plenty of shows where the male lead kicks butt, same for the female lead. there’s shows where the male lead is a planner extraordinaire and has a team to do the heavy lifting. there is only one show that has the male lead able to do what chuck does. when he no longer has that, it changes the show for me. but that’s just me.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        Harku,

        Your idea makes just way too much sense, and is better on sooooo many levels.

        The idea of Sarah going after Mama B for me fell apart in Push Mix when Mama B told Sarah she was sending her back home. All the “drama” circulating about Sarah decision to go on (quite likely) a long term mission and she learned nothing from it. Sarah should have come to the decision was not for her. I think they tried to redeem Mama B with that scene, but all they did was make the end of Balcony and all of Gobbler useless. As I said earlier, drama not paid off.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with that Shepperd. My single least favorite thing the whole season was that Mary was given “the voice of wisdom” on the Volkoff mission. By rights, that should have been Sarah. Mary was the dingbat who spent 20 years on that mission; and that is the single biggest failing of S4 for me.

    • joe says:

      That’s true, Sam. But I think the episode was really about how both of them, Sarah in particular, had to catch up to that idea.

      Sarah was still trying to shield Chuck, thinking she knew best. What’s realistic is that, she was absolutely right – about Rye and the mission, and earlier, about how much to trust Frost.

      But “who’s right” changes with time. In the longer view, Chuck was right about his need for Sarah to trust him, even when she thinks/knows he’s wrong. Chuck was right about Mary, too.

      Lord knows how many times I thought I was right about something, maybe in how I resolved an issue either professionally or personally, only to realize years later that I really wasn’t. Luckily, the opposite has sometimes happened too.

    • Harku says:

      P.S If that is more or less the way they planned it than they should leave it and try to find completely new story in back 11, rather than rework existing story arc and extend it to 24 episodes.

  12. Sam Carter says:

    @Joe: “That’s true, Sam. But I think the episode was really about how both of them, Sarah in particular, had to catch up to that idea.”

    It felt really forced and contrived, imo. I also thought both Sarah and him really knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives by the end of S3. It felt pretty definitive and real. I just didn’t like the way they presented their relationship in S4. Chuck became a whiner/insecure boyfriend (which wasn’t sexy at all) and there was way too much focus in their relationship. I get some here loved it, but I didn’t.

    @Harku: Yes, Chuck wasn’t a real spy yet in Season 1 and 2, but he became a good one in the middle of S3 and on. He was smart and brave. He just lacked the fighting skills. He should have learned that in S4 at least. I love the show, but it is sort of schizophrenic sometimes, lol…

    • Harku says:

      And what Sarah was afraid of, that he’ll get hurt, she knew he is smart and brave, but being the field agent requires you to be able to defend yourself sometimes and Chuck doesn’t have those skills at all and in all of those cases you mentioned Chuck had the intersect to save his ass (having it also gave him a confidance that he lacked before). So him getting hurt was actually very high possibility, that’s why i fully buy the main conflict of the episode, even if i agree it wasn’t exactly the best episode.

      You mention how Chuck was whiny/insecure in season 4, but season 3 was not better at all in that regard, we get few cases of Chuck being whiny/insecure, also few cases of him being selfish jerk and also a few cases of him being lying bastard for no apparent reason (like when he was constantly lying to Sarah). So for me it was not one bit better, frankly i found Chuck just annoying in season 3, also while we got less Chuck/Sarah focus, we got on the other hand plenty more on other LI, which again don’t think is better.

      • thinkling says:

        I’ve enjoyed your comments, Harku. I agree about FOD. Not my favorite, but I liked it and saw validity in the entire arc. And I agree that S3 had some really low Chuck moments: Hannah and the lying being the worst.

  13. Sam Carter says:

    @Harku: “You mention how Chuck was whiny/insecure in season 4, but season 3 was not better at all in that regard, we get few cases of Chuck being whiny/insecure, also few cases of him being selfish jerk and also a few cases of him being lying bastard for no apparent reason (like when he was constantly lying to Sarah).”

    Chuck being a bit whiny/insecure in S3 was mostly only regarding his relationship with Sarah not as a spy. So I think it worked well enough within the context of the story they were telling that season. By the end of S3, Chuck had grown a great deal in several ways and his relationship with Sarah had also progressed a great deal; he finally had the girl of his dreams. What happened in S4 was pure regression of his character and not in a good way. He stopped being smart and brave for the most part. Unfortunately, it seems it was the only way the showrunners/writers knew how to make Sarah look good.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      So do you think they threw Sarah “under the bus” to make Chuck look good in S3?

    • atcDave says:

      I know I’ve heard this complaint before, but I honestly can’t think of a single instance of Chuck being cowardly in S4. I can think of times he was recklessly brave (FOD and Cliffhanger); and I can think of times when I thought he talked too much about personal issues while on a mission (Coup d’Etat and Seduction Impossible), and I remember him being the major hero and saving the day (Push Mix and Cliffhanger); but I don’t recall any cowardice.
      Among the things I did not like about S3 was that Chuck did too much solo work, and that Sarah was virtually useless for most of the season. I much preferred the S4 balance of things, where we saw a lot more teamwork and partnership; that was always one of my favorite aspects of the first two seasons, and that balance finally felt right again to me.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, i think this discussion again falls under personal ideas of what cowardice is. chuck actions in the gondola and the freezing room could be considered cowardly by some and not by others. that’s my 2c.

      • atcDave says:

        Seriously army? I don’t mean to be snide but I completely don’t get it. I mean, he tried to fight in gondola and lost because he had no clue; is that cowardly? In the freezing chamber he couldn’t flash, which was apparently all he brought to the party; but since the whole idea was to get him to flash that’s hardly surprising. Once the security was defeated he immediately made himself useful with the loupe; using his brains which I always love to see!

        I saw brains and courage in those two scenes, just no flash.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, first of all i was just using scenes that i felt could be used both ways. i was just trying to make an objective statement, that 2 people can look at a scene and come to 2 different conclusions. it was really nothing more than that. i certainly didn’t voice an opinion on it.

      • atcDave says:

        Okay army, but that is exactly why I have a problem with people throwing out complaints like “Chuck behaved like a coward in S4.” I don’t see it, anywhere. If someone sees cowardice in those scenes then I suppose that’s their right; but seriously I can only conclude, for future reference, that that individual’s standards are pretty unreasonable. But we’re not even getting enough specific complaints to draw that conclusion; just a blanket “Chuck was a coward.”

        I seriously, I mean SERIOUSLY, think its a case of some viewers not liking a light hearted action adventure story and trying to put a quantifiable value on their opinion.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, glad we got that cleared up. i really am not trying to stir up crap.

  14. Sam Carter says:

    “sam – you are so good at blogging, you should consider starting your own blog or even a witty podcast, you’re awesome”

    “Now that’s just funny Sam!”

    Well thanks, guys! You’re also really funny yourselves sometimes! 😉 There is a reason I still read this blog, you guys are pretty entertaining! 🙂

    And no, Jason, don’t really have the time or energy for a blog of my own. It’s fun this way, lol.

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