Protect The Ones You Love — The Rest Are Just Details


The sunrise diffuses a rosy glow over Burbank and … Everything is perfect. With Chuck and Sarah’s wedding just a few days away, Ellie and Devon and Morgan are bending over backwards (Morgan quite literally) to protect them from anything that’s stressful … taking care of the last details … making everything MAGICAL! so Chuck and Sarah can do something romantic. Her pre-wedding jitters having been erased by their practice vows, Sarah is sooo ready for this wedding … and her romantic day off! She nuzzles Chuck awake, “Today we have a day off from the CIA. Today is about you and me and our wedding.” Let the romance begin.


The spy world abhors a stress vacuum, so naturally this particular vacuum is about to be filled with … um, stress. Once again Chuck and Sarah’s real world is breached, and they find themselves taking care of a uniquely bizarre set of pre-wedding details that only spies could imagine. With Casey’s knock on the door, their romantic day takes a left turn and leads them the long way around, through South America and Russia, to get to their rehearsal dinner. We ride along through the bumps and curves of danger, hilarity, gastronomical abominations, and familial altercations, which are followed by love, understanding, and forgiveness — Chuck-style. Woven throughout is the enduring Chuck theme of protecting the ones you love … and the ones they love.

Joe’s Funny Bone Gets a Workout:They did it again! Every season I try to do honest critiques of Chuck, paying attention to details and staying mindful of the reactions that others, with their varied tastes and experiences, might have. I try to separate my preferences and set “the bar” based on the traditional, historical and evolving norms of the entertainment industry, with due allowance and understanding for the constraints imposed on modern television.

And then they go and blow me away with an episode that just tickles my funny-bone from start to finish. TPTB do something like that near the end of every season, but it’s always something – well, different. In S1 we had the sweetness of Sarah calling Chuck “My Guy” on the Buy More rooftop, tearing because she thinks he’s about to be dumped in a bunker forever. In S2, we had the amazing series of episodes that took my breath away, especially at the moment Sarah took Chuck’s hands in hers, hugged him close and whispered “Take off your watch.” OMG, that was a moment as exciting as any moment on television, a moment that lifted the viewers from despair to joy in 2 seconds. Stunning. In S3, towards the end, we Chuck facing down a deadly enemy with his emotions completely under control – finally, and Sarah acknowledging the difference between weakness and strength. Satisfaction!

So after sweet, stunning and satisfying, what’s left for them to do at high point of the season?

Stress? Absolute panic about Chuck and Sarah finally making it to the alter? Naw. How about laughter? That’s what I saw, right from the beginning.

On re-watch, I find myself laughing for the duration of Chuck vs. The Last Details, or at least chuckling uncontrollably. Oh, not at Vivian demanding the Norseman be completed “for leverage”, or the oily Riley capturing Frost/Mary right at the beginning. But only thirty seconds later I’m grinning at Sarah gently waking a half-dreaming Chuck with a little game, the exact moment you bring up, Thinkling.

Sarah: Do you know what we have to do today?
Chuck: Um… hunt someone?
Sarah: No…
Chuck: Blow something up.
Sarah: No again.
Chuck: Uh huh. Crawl through sewers? or rat holes? or underground lairs filled with sewage and/or rats?
Sarah: No, no and no. Today, we have a day off from the CIA. Today is about you and me and our wedding.
Chuck: [whispers] God, that’s good.

You betcha! Smooches all around and by the three minute mark I’m grinning and laughing and everything is perfect and nothing can go wrong…

Oops! I’m as bad as Sarah with jinxes, it seems. She doesn’t know that you never say “Nothing will go wrong!” in the movies, because she’s only caught up to 1987 and the movie Mannequin (which features Sex and the City‘s Kim Cattrall). Oh-oh. Explicit movie reference!

Immediately after she says that, Morgan’s in trouble, Devon is advising him to “Go limp!” (to which, he replies “Go limp? YOU GO LIMP! CHUCK! DOOOO SOMETHING!”), and I’m laughing at the hi-jinx and the movie references. Does Morgan about to fall off the balcony constitute an emergency? Of course it does! If the Intersect can’t help a friend in need, then I ask you. What is it good for??!! But it’s an emergency of the less-stressful kind.

And that’s exactly the way Chuck vs. The Last Details plays. Everything is an emergency, everything is a deadly threat, everything is serious. But because the jokes (and movie references!) keep coming, we just know it’ll be fine, and we just feel good.

Chuck: Comin’ down! [Chuck back-flips from the balcony, landing perfectly]
Devon: Awesome!
Sarah: Impressive, isn’t it?
Devon: You seriously don’t do any core work???
Chuck: …just enough to reach the remote…

We’re confident. There’s nothing Riley, Vivian or even Frost can do to mess up the wedding. Right?

To Love and Protect

A Chuck flash, a few leaps, a somersault with a half twist, general awe from everyone. Done. Morgan saved (protected). The romantic day begins … again.

Across the courtyard Alex asks her dad to protect Morgan. The number of people Casey needs to protect is growing. Because he loves his daughter, he promises to keep her boyfriend safe, by keeping him away from dangerous missions.

Meanwhile, another parent is doing what she can to shield her loved ones from danger. Oops. MamaB is captured by Vivian Volkoff and wiley Riley. Now who needs protecting? Chuck and Sarah’s romantic day is postponed … again. They’re off to rescue Chuck’s mom. While Chuck is focused on protecting his mom, Sarah is focused not only on protecting Chuck’s mom but also on protecting Chuck from losing her again, right before their wedding.

See you in Colombia.

Joe Flies to South America, Just For Thinkling!We have to get to Amacayacu, Columbia and find the missing mother-in-law to be. That’s easy enough. But first TeamB has to endure one of their worst trials to date. They have to eat lunch at a local bistro, whose specialty looks like something between grubs and Klingon Gagh.

Chuck: I have an idea. Why don’t we leave the table before this thing attacks us?

Oh, okay. Maybe it’s best compared to the dinner we last saw served in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. MOVIE REFERENCE! Chuck quickly devises a plan to get inside the mine where Agent Frost is being held, but to do that, first he has to reference YET ANOTHER MOVIE!!!

Chuck: Move it along, “Chewy.”
Sarah: “Chewy?” Why are you calling him “Chewy?” He didn’t even eat anything from that disgusting platter.
Chuck: Honey… it’s a reference to St… Oh, I love you!

We’re far from done. While Casey admonishes Chuck for getting his plans from Star Wars, Mama B is busy imitating The Terminator‘s Sarah Connor (oh, admit it. You recognized those pull-ups!). And yes, I’m still giggling.

Chuck gets a chance to show Sarah exactly where she is in his universe when the guard, Vlad, insults her. I like it when Chuck defends Sarah’s honor. I like it even more that Sarah appreciates it! They work so well together; a well-oiled team that nothing, not Vivian or Wiley Riley or anything, can stop. See? Nothing can go wrong.

TeamB gets to Mary. In a world full of people unable to keep Chuck & Sarah from their destiny,  Mommy-in-law becomes the biggest obstacle yet! That’s right. Not Vivian, not Riley, not Jeffster, but Mary, of all people!

Mary: Chuck! You’re about to get married! What are you doing here?
Chuck: Yes, exactly. We’re about to get married, which is why we’re getting you out of here, right now.
Mary: Oh no, honey. I’m sorry. I can’t leave yet. But you should go. I can handle myself.
Sarah: No offense, but that’s the attitude that got you captured in the first place.
Mary: Vivian’s team has re-assembled the Norseman down here. I can’t leave without it. I’ll just endure a couple of rounds of torture and then I’ll find a way to break out and get it!
Chuck: Uh, NO!
Sarah: We’re not leaving you get to get tortured! We have a wedding to get you to.
Casey: Hey! We gotta move. Let’s go!
Mary: Sweetheart? I know the wedding is important but so is the nation’s safety. If I leave now, they will move the weapon, and we’ll never get it!
Sarah: Mary, don’t be stubborn! We’re just here to extract you, not finish a failed mission!
Mary: Failed!? STUBBORN??!!


To Protect Against All Threats, Both Foreign … and Domestic

Casey: Come on let’s go before your girls kill each other.
Chuck: You don’t have to tell me twice.

Actually, it’s not that bad. They’re not pointing guns at each other. (Mom, this is my girlfriend Sarah. Sarah, this is my mom, Mary. I don’t know how to say this exactly, but please don’t kill each other.) That was a long time ago and a lot of water under the Bartowski bridges. Since then Mary and Sarah have bonded (not that they’re apt to gush about it over tea or anything). It’s a bond forged from shared experience, shared understanding, and a shared love. Even so, it was inevitable that these two strong women would ultimately knock heads.

Well, to start with Sarah was already a little peeved that Mary inserted herself into their case uninvited. Of course, Chuck could be right; maybe she’s just trying to protect them. Call it a wedding present. (How many couples do you know who are registered at Weapons R Us? A Norseman Device? No they don’t have one of those, yet.) OK fine. But her methods are a bit rogue-y … no back up, no contingency. Well, she has been rogue-ish for 20 years, so should we really be surprised?

Also not surprising, Mary doesn’t want to abort the mission. She explains to Sarah (Sweetheart) that she knows the wedding is important, but so is the nation’s safety. (Don’t they get it? She’s protecting the nation … and her family.) Sarah throws around words like stubborn and failed mission. These don’t go over too well with Mary. Chuck takes the easy way out and goes with Casey to find the Norseman, leaving his girls to sort things out.

Sarah is protecting Chuck. (Doesn’t Mary get it? She was absent for 20 years of his life. The least she can do is be at his wedding.) Finally it spills out, “Maybe [you can take care of yourself], but now Chuck and the rest of his family are in harms way two days before his wedding.” (Yeah, I know it’s their wedding as Sarah so designated earlier … in bed … when everything was perfect, but for the purposes of explaining things to her mother-in-law, it’s his wedding.) Mary pouts. Sarah does have a point.

Sarah stood up for Chuck to his mom. He didn’t do the same. In his focus to protect his mom and get everyone to safety, he lost sight of the other person who needs his protection in other ways. Sarah is so strong that it’s easy to forget there are some areas where she needs his protection, like from his mom. Casey clues him in. On the way home, he apologizes and reassures a quiet, angry Sarah.

Almost immediately his promise is put to the test. The sparks continue to fly between Mother/Spy and Daughter-in-law/Spy as Mary tries to protect Chuck and Sarah from their own mission. Mary throws around words like fix your mistake and clean up [your mess]. These don’t go over too well with Sarah. However, this time Chuck protects Sarah from his mom … much to his mother’s shock. She is the mother and senior agent, after-all. But Chuck’s not 9 years old any more. He’s a spy, the head of his team, and protector of his soon-to-be wife (who has more than earned her own stripes). Morgan, who has a suicidal habit of putting himself between quarreling spies, pulls Chuck aside to protect him from Mary’s protests. The air still crackles from the conflict, but at least this time Chuck ended up on the right side of the conflict.

OK. See you in Moscow.

Joe Again:That’s absolutely right, Thinkling. Chuck may be a top notch spy now, but he’s still learning how to be a husband. Well, Sarah’s a good woman. She’ll allow him a mistake, so long as he learns from it. Morgan learning from his mistakes is another thing entirely.

Oh yeah, Morgan. He’s had an errand to run for Chuck, the wedding video. But that got passed off to Jeff and Lester. Lester would never pass up an opportunity to demonstrate his art, but – MAKE IT STOP, PLEASE! Sigh. That was me, channeling Ellie.

In order to impersonate an Italian arms-dealer, Morgan adopts the worst Italian accent possible from about half a dozen movies, including the flash-back scenes from Godfather 3. But what’s another movie reference between friends? We’ll just pause here a second to hum Darth Vader’s Theme from Star Wars, and return to our review….

Okay, we’re back. Vivian is having an auction in Moscow to sell the Norseman to arms dealers, and Morgan is in attendance. But she lied. The Norseman is an advantage she intends to keep, and Vivian uses it to kill everyone in the room. Everyone, that is, except anyone who’s DNA isn’t in the weapon – Morgan. Oh, and a James Bond impersonator, who gets about five seconds into his explanation. BANG! Okay, that qualifies as a movie reference too, even if it is all of the Bond movies. As much as I want to complain and worry about all the roadblocks between C&S and matrimony, you know – bad guys, bad karma and in-laws, I’m still laughing.

Protecting Them — Keeping the Promise

Since it’s cold and snowy, Casey offers to let Mary wait in the van. Mary decides it might be chillier for her in the van, “Nah, it’s alright. I think I’ll give Chuck and Sarah a little space on this one.” Parenting isn’t easy.
Mary: It’s hard to have kids. Can’t always protect them.
Casey: Yeah, or their idiot boyfriends.
And so it is that the two least experienced parents on the planet bond.

Having just spoken the words, Mary’s worst nightmare materializes before her eyes. Riley is about to shoot Chuck in the back of the head, and she can’t draw her gun fast enough. The shot rings out. … But it’s Riley, not Chuck, who drops with a hole in his head. Sarah’s got Chuck’s back. Afterward, in the briefest moment when they hold each other, it’s Chuck and Sarah, plus no one. C: You saved me … S: Always.

What more could a Mother/Spy want?

Joe Continues To Do The Movies

Inigo Montoya: Let me ‘splain.
Inigo Montoya: No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Riley’s not the only one who gets shot here. Morgan was left in deep do-do, wearing camera-glasses and faking death-by-Norseman. Casey still has to save him, and the sequence is memorable because of its cleverness.

I understand Casey shooting blind through the window is supposed to be just like in Breaking Bad, I think it’s much more like a scene from Dune Messiah, where a blind Paul Atreides throws his dagger (accurately enough to kill his enemy, Scytale) by seeing through the eyes of his infant son the way Casey sees Vivian’s henchmen through Morgan’s glasses. Those aren’t movies, but close enough! Literary references count for clever in my book.

When Riley and Vivian try to escape, Chuck and Sarah ram their car – backwards. Hey! Is that a reference to the Pilot episode? I think it is! Well why not. At the very beginning of the episode, Chuck and Sarah reminisce about their previous missions that required some plumbing duties (those Nancys!)… 😉 Self-referential, but it was worked into the episode so deftly that I just smiled at the recognition.

There’s one more film to consider. That would be Lester’s. Oh, Lester created an atrocity of a wedding video, which means that both Morgan and Ellie, who appropriated the job, are up a creek. It’s another tragedy in the making! Who can save the wedding from this impending disaster??!! Like the good-natured humor that runs through the rest of this episode, the most gentle character in the entire crew, Jeff, saves them with his version.

We started by talking about stress, but there is no emergency here that is deadly, nothing that is insurmountable, which is perfect. Absolutely perfect and magical.

… except for that last five seconds, when Sarah is struck down, perhaps mortally. That’s the last detail.

Thinkling Takes in the Rehearsal Dinner

Sarah may not have gotten her romantic day off, but she is really enjoying the rehearsal dinner. Did you see the way she charged into the courtyard, dragging Chuck behind her? As for the courtyard, what Chuck and Sarah said: “Guys, wow. The courtyard, it looks unbelievable.” Ellie more than met her goal, and everything is MAGICAL! It was a sweet moment for the two couples, a culmination of 4 years of Awesome’s hints and Ellie’s hopes. And it’s real.

Sarah’s nostalgic look at the fountain couldn’t be more perfect. The scene of so many meaningful moments and milestones, and now this … so much she didn’t know she wanted but now wants nothing more than “to spend and learn and love the rest of her life with Chuck.

Chuck’s surprise (which brought a questioning look from Sarah and a panic face from Ellie) turned out surprisingly well. In fact it was great. I loved watching it, and I loved watching others watching it, especially the women: Sarah, Mary, Ellie, and Alex.

Joe Snarfs Down Rehearsal Dinner DessertNoticing Sarah’s energy, the way she leads Chuck by the hand, is a great catch, Thinkling. It’s part of the atmosphere that makes the rehearsal dinner magical. It’s starkly different from Ellie’s reception in the court yard. Remember? Sarah walks up to Chuck almost sadly. “Do you want to dance?” and he replies “You know I do.” It’s thoughtful, quiet and full of regrets. This is energetic, joyous and forward-looking. Only the twinkling lights are the same for them.

I loved the video too, but for a very odd reason. Those moments were so candid that they seemed incredibly honest. That one still of Sarah’s wide-open laugh was a picture I could not have imagined during the first two seasons – Sarah was much too walled-off for that. Yet Jeff caught a moment she was in full fake-cover-girlfriend mode pulling Chuck through the Buy More’s sliding doors, yet still showing a transparent joy on her face, just like this evening. Wonderful!

Thinkling, I had such a great time re-watching this episode, but it was not at all for the reasons I expected. Like I’ve been trying to say, I never had a fear or any anxiety that Chuck and Sarah would get to this point, to the verge of matrimony. I did not really think that Vivian and Riley would get away with her schemes or that Mary would not be able to stop being the overcompensating, meddling mother-in-law even before she got the title. None of the outcomes were in doubt. If you asked me how one could possibly top the drama of Phase 3 or of Push Mix, I’d tell you it would not be possible.

But tension and drama are not what makes Last Details so enjoyable. It’s in Jeff’s video, and in Ellie’s taking charge of the magic, and it’s in Casey’s warning to Chuck that Sarah will be the one he’ll be waking up next to every morning. Those are gentle things, and they’re about friendship, family and commitment. There was not one extra moment of tension, not one second extra of grief or doubt in this episode. Those things were not needed. We had Mary’s toast and the warmth of friends and family instead.

It isn’t by accident that Mary didn’t toast the couple. That comes later, at the wedding. At the dinner, Mary toasts Sarah, with good reason. Sarah finally has a home.

To Love and Protect — Til Death Do Us Part

The tinkling of Mary’s water glass calls the gathering to attention (before Chuck’s kisses advance scandalously far up Sarah’s arm). I don’t know what the other guests see, maybe just a traditional rehearsal dinner toast given by one of the parents of the groom … probably not very different than the last one they heard.

I see an absent father, smiling in affection and satisfaction that his life’s mission is complete — his family together, happy. I see a minor miracle … a family moment that might never have happened were it not for the determination of this groom and the courage of his bride.

Like so many things surrounding Mary Bartowski, the scene is layered. The guests hear one thing. Ellie and Devon hear more than the guests hear, but less than Chuck and Sarah hear. Since this is a toast to Sarah, the deepest connection, is between Mother/Spy and Daughter-in-law/Spy.

Many of you might not know me, but I am Chuck’s and Ellie’s mom. Truth be told, I was gone for a long time. The guests’ curiosity is peeked, but whatever they conjure up to explain her long absence won’t come within a light year of the truth. For Ellie and Chuck, the words are a bitter sweet reminder of all they lost and of the happiness of having their family back together. Devon always did what he could to compensate for Ellie’s pain, and Sarah joined Chuck’s quest to bring Mary home. Chuck, even more than his mom, knows the legacy of the family business, its nobility and its pain, while Sarah is the only one who understands Mary’s 20 year hell, (“I was lucky. I got you. Your mom … got Volkoff.”)

Now that I am back in their lives, I sometimes overcompensate. Now there’s something everyone understands. All moms overcompensate. True, but which other mom’s overcompensation forced her children to break her out of a Columbian holding cell and recover a top secret weapon from Moscow on their way to the rehearsal dinner? This is a direct apology spoken to Chuck and Sarah for the preceding two days. Apology noted and received with affection and understanding.

The guests smile and nod, blissfully unaware of the deeper meaning of the scene.

The rest of the toast is just for Sarah and spoken only to Sarah. The communication, both verbal and non verbal, is a touching reminder of everything they’ve been through and their unique bond from the beginning until now.

But lucky for me, my soon-to-be daughter-in-law is very forgiving. Chuck’s forgiving nature is so obvious that we sometimes overlook Sarah’s capacity to forgive (seen as early as Helicopter and Wookie). Mary’s direct reference is probably to the past 48 hours, but this is far from a new revelation. Mary has had ample time to observe and interact with Sarah. Sarah’s capacity to forgive and understand was a crucial element of the mom hunt/rescue and their relationship all along. More than that, her understanding was more than just a passive attitude. It was an active commitment. Mrs. Bartowski, I came here to help you take down Volkoff and to get you the hell out of here. In part, Sarah’s capacity to forgive helped bring Mary home to her family … to this moment.

She’s never heard me say it, but Sarah is one of the strongest and one of the most amazing women that I have ever met. It’s obvious isn’t it? We all know it. Chuck, Morgan, Ellie, Devon … they all know it. I just don’t think Sarah knows it. In fact, I doubt she’s ever heard it (except from Chuck). Sadly, her own family and her own mother don’t know what a treasure she is. That ends now. Her new family treasures their newest member.

The words could be applied to Sarah in so many ways. But specifically, what Sarah did for Mary was stunning. It showed exceptional strength and was nothing short of amazing.

Mary’s words, spoken with genuine affection directly to Sarah, specifically as her daughter(in-law), touch Sarah in a unique way. Their effect is visible, and not lost on Chuck. Sarah’s eyes are a wee bit watery, as the affirmation, especially from a mother, begins a healing long overdue.

So I would like to propose this toast to her. Sarah, thank you for taking care of my Chuck. Thank you for shooting Riley in the head and saving my son. (The guests smile at the typical remark, having nary a clue what it means.)

The Mary/Sarah story comes full circle, with this acknowledgment of a promise kept. Not long ago, in the family basement, Mary and Alexei Volkoff bound Chuck and Sarah and planted explosives around them. As Mary adjusted Sarah’s ropes, she handed her a way out, “Protect him.” From that exchange, a fragile bond took root in a shared love. Since then their bond has deepened through a unique kinship, a shared mission, and a battle for survival. Despite all of that, though, the root of their bond is their love for Chuck Bartowski and their fierce determination to protect him.

May you have many more adventures together, and may you always keep each other safe. Spoken as only a Mother/Spy can, these words are directed to both Sarah and Chuck. Love and Protection is a two way street … and a family affair. With these words Mary includes Sarah in the protection equation. Before she asked Sarah to protect Chuck. Now she asks Chuck to protect Sarah. At the same time she acknowledges Chuck as the Protector he is, no longer her Protect-ee.

Confident in their love for each other and their ability to keep each other safe, she gives them her blessing and sends them off on their journey for two, little knowing how they are all about to be tested.

You never know what adventures are just around the next curve or what dangers will demand everything you have to protect the ones you love. Within minutes Sarah, the strong amazing woman, Chuck’s Lover/Protector, lies unconscious, under the ardent protection of her own Lover/Protector and her new family.

Protect her.


About thinkling

In my [younger] youth, I was a math teacher, basketball coach, and computer programmer. In 1984, we moved to Brazil, where we serve as missionaries. I like to design things and build things, read things and write things. We now live part-time in Brazil, part-time in the US. Love them both. Wife, 37 yrs; mom, 30 yrs. I am blessed.
This entry was posted in Analysis, Observations, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Protect The Ones You Love — The Rest Are Just Details

  1. atcDave says:

    Thanks for another great write-up of an awesome episode. I really felt, just like Subway/Ring II last season, that they gave us an awesome two-part finale. This episode was so much fun, and the ending was a proper cliffhanger, even if we really know everything will be all right.
    A couple thing you mentioned really jumped out at me. First was Mary needed to be rescued on another of her botched up missions. I have no doubt she loves her family, but the curious fact is, once again her way of loving her family involves leaving them for a dangerous solo mission. And once again family must go in harm’s way to bail her out. Mary’s way of “protecting” seems to be counter-productive at best! Part of what I love about the Sarah/Frost confrontation in the jail cell is that Sarah gets it; she sees the danger for everyone in Mary’s antics. I was hoping for this revelation and confrontation way back in Gobbler, but better late than never!
    The other point I really loved, and I think is often overlooked, is Sarah’s amazing forgiving nature. We often praise her heroics, fearlessness, and even emotional growth. But as Thinkling points out, she has shown a consistent and remarkable capacity for understanding and forgiveness too. Not what one would expect from an emotionally stunted tough chick; but it has been consistently shown almost from the beginning. I still remember well the first time watching Gravitron; when we got to that fountain talk at the end, my wife said “wow, she let him totally off the hook…”. I love having a show where the good guys are actually good guys; THAT is radical writing in this day and age!

    • joe says:

      You’re right about that, Dave. It is radical.

      I’m gonna say I got one on ya, though. I knew about Sarah’s forgiving nature even earlier, in Helicopter (oh yeah. That’s episode 1.02). At the end Chuck is doing a victory dance because he landed the helicopter, sort of forgetting that he did it only because of Sarah’s help. As soon as he’s safe, Sarah dresses him down for not trusting her (he did accuse her of not being one of the good-guys and murdered her soufflé, after all).

      But next scene he has the good sense to apologize for that, and she graciously accepts. Even better, they join Ellie and Devon for lunch. Let him off the hook there too!

      Also, since you brought it up, it strikes me that Mary’s competence as a spy is similar to (forgive me this, now) Shaw’s.

      Ack! What could I possibly mean??? Both of them are indeed superspies, ubercompetent and certain to fulfill their mission. But both are capable of screwing up badly and going off on their own.

      Then again, so is Stephen. And so are Chuck & Sarah. Yup. Even Casey. Only Morgan has shown himself capable of following orders. Sorta. And only when Casey threatens him with his life… 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I know that about Helicopter Joe, as I said, it’s been a consistent part of her character almost since the beginning! It wasn’t a random comment out of the blue that Mary made, it truly is an established part of Sarah’s character.

  2. Rkaz2011 says:

    Been thinking about the whole plot around the norseman. I think the writers didn’t do a good job explaining how it went from pretty much killing those other guys, but not Sarah instantly, and how their wasn’t even a mention of an antidote until Cliffhanger . I think if they had mentioned something about an antidote earlier, their wouldn’t have been this huge plot hole of when the device was used on Sarah ( and who didn’t see that coming)

    • atcDave says:

      It’s true we were never given an explanation; but remember Sarah was the only person targeted who was more than 15 feet from it, and the only person who received prompt medical care. Not only that, we don’t actually know how quickly it killed any of the previous victims. We only know that they were quickly incapacitated (as was Sarah) and then disposed of.
      It would have been nice if they had said something along the lines of “antitdote required in 24 hours or fatal” or “may be less effective at extreme range” or even “Sarah is just a lot stronger than those other schmucks”; but I think those are plausible explanations and not a huge leap of faith.

    • joe says:

      You’re quite right ’bout that, Rkaz. Those are pretty big holes.

      I’m not qualified to speak technically about the ideal spot to stick in a detail about the antidote, but personally, I can forgive the non-mention of it until Cliffhanger. This episode seemed so full of stuff already – I could tell when I was struggling to keep this review below 6000 words – that I doubt they wanted to pack more in. It’s gotta be a trade off.

      Besides. This episode really isn’t at all about Vivian’s threat. It’s about Mary and Chuck’s ability to protect Sarah from anything – including his mom. It builds nicely into Vivian’s deadly menace, but only in the last five seconds.

      The way the threat is handled and resolved is certainly a question for any review of Cliffhanger.

  3. Aerox says:

    Just wanted to say that the Breaking Bad reference isn’t about the blind shooting, but about the use of Hydrochloric acid.

    In BB, after killing two drug dealers who were going to kill Jesse, Walt and Jesse decide to get rid of them by dumping acid on them. They buy some plastic barrels, but the bodies don’t fit so Jesse, smart as he is, decides to fill the tub with the bodies and then put the acid in. The acid bites through the porcelain, through the floor and eventually loads of guts and disintegrated body parts drop through the roof, in front of Walt’s feet (which is the “disgusting” part that Morgan referenced)

  4. jason says:

    One user request, could you format that one of the two writers have the colored box function, say like Joe’s writing was in blue, Think’s in the normal white, I never can keep track of who wrote what.

    Anyhow, one of you mentioned the toast, I am hoping that is a glimpse of season 5’s theme:
    “May you have many more adventures together, and may you always keep each other safe.”

    Another mention of how the car ramming was full circle to the pilot, I love that sort of analysis, thanks. Also Mary calling Chuck “my Chuck” – as Sarah did in the apartment scene.

    Flustered Sarah is funny (in the car), Yvonne would make a great Alice on a remake of The Honeymooners, or a great Laura in a remake of the Dick Van Dyke show – heck, Zac is a great Rob, Morgan a great Buddy, Lancaster / mcPartlin a great millie/jerry, with Alex playing Sally and Casey playing the boss, can’t recall his name.

    Could have been the last time the big 3 had a mission together, I wonder if TPTB liked the Morgan undercover scene with Mary Casey’s partner? Did most of you? I like it when more of them go on missions sometimes, this being one I liked, even though Morgan was again, way, way, overwritten. TPTB obviously love Morgan, such that his preparing for missions (maybe twice, seems worth 3 or 4 minutes of precious air time) I wish they wrote the missions better, would seem easy to pick up an ex Alias writer to make the mythology work better or a current Castle writer, to make the mission of the week better?

    Other than that, the first 5 minutes, Mary undercover, ‘Chuck and Sarah’s day off’ & Ellie runs roughshod over the courtyard – those had the makings of very, very great TV, could have used 15 or 20 minutes of that instead of 5. Again, would have been great if Mary’s mission was written better, smarter, befitting a top notch spy rather than Maxwell Smart and Agent 99. And Chuck and Sarah trying to have a day off, while chaos is all around, would have been funny, could have even teased the shipper crowd, with several aborted attempt’s to ‘ugggghhhhmmmm relax’. Nobody is better at getting in the way of Chuck and Sarah’s attempts to relax than Morgan, especially if psycho Ellie is on the prowl.

    Like much of Chuck, whether I liked it or disliked it, the missed opportunities just stand out to me, I think it is because I (really most of us here) are so invested, I (we) want more!

    • atcDave says:

      Maybe if S5 went a two hour format…

    • thinkling says:

      Your wish is my command

      The author sections (in this case Thinkling) are plain. The co-author (in this case Joe) is slightly indented with a blue line down the left side. I experimented with a colored background, but I didn’t like it as much. 🙂

    • thinkling says:

      I do like it when more people are involved. Last Details had Ellie and Devon in charge of the rehearsal dinner, and all four and a half spies on missions. Same in Cliffhanger. I loved that everyone was involved in protecting/saving/taking care of Sarah.

  5. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Last Details (4.23) | Chuck This

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