Summertime Top Ten: Phase 3

This may be one of the least controversial episodes to make the top ten.  Like Honeymooners, it is an episode the vast majority of Chuck fans seem to love.  For myself, I put it with Wedding Planner as the best of S4, and I completely agree with everyone who helped make this one of the top ten all time favorite episodes of our favorite show.  But how does it hold up with S4 now complete and 10 months worth of hindsight?  That will be part of how we look at this episode, after the jump.

The first thing that catches my attention with this episode is that its right in the middle of the largely unpopular “Intersectless arc.”  I think that mainly means the episodes both before and after Phase 3 are far less popular.  It’s also interesting to me that this episode of Chuck has our primary protagonist unconscious for a majority of it.  This is completely a Sarah-driven Sarah-centric piece.  While “Fear of Death” highlighted Chuck’s growth as a spy and without the Intersect; and ended with his declaration Sarah was more important to him than having the Intersect or being a spy; Phase 3 will be about Sarah’s growth.  She will admit out loud that she loves Chuck for who he is and not the Intersect; next she will admit she’s different without Chuck (and she doesn’t like it!); and finally she will risk life and limb to rescue Chuck.

Now arguably none of this is new for either character.  But we do get a tidy story arc here that enunciates Chuck and Sarah’s core values.  And it does it for good; there will be no more backtracking or questions about what they mean to each other.  To me this episode fills a gap.  Sarah had to go to extreme lengths and take extraordinary measures to fight for Chuck.  We know she had previously stepped from her comfort zone some for Chuck; everything from finally uttering “I love you” to unpacking her bags.  But in Phase three she becomes the raging lioness that we were all waiting to see.  I remember the anticipation for this episode.  I don’t even know who started it, but it was clear so many of us were on the same page about what we wanted to see from Sarah.

Sarah’s story is center stage here, and Yvonne’s performance is dynamite. Right from when we first see tired stressed Sarah returning to Castle.  A few stand out moments to me are Sarah’s first questioning of the Thai official (leading to Casey’s misplaced faith in her “Walker knows what lines not to cross”, very funny) and the tense Sarah/Casey/Morgan showdown after. Casey accuses Sarah of having been Graham’s “wild card enforcer.” Apparently she once had a fearsome reputation, and we’ll see in this episode she deserves it.

Which leads to the awesome home scene.  Sarah as defeated as we’ve ever seen, sniffing Chuck’s shirt (women must be cats, I swear, I’ve seen my wife do such things, weird), and the discussion with Morgan.  We’ve observed here a few times that Sarah/Morgan scenes are often wonderful, and this is one of the best.  Sarah is apparently feeling guilty about not letting Chuck know that she loves him with or without the Intersect (I actually thought she was quite clear on that point back in Fear of Death), and Morgan is pouring gasoline on that fire.

The next situation would be Sarah locking Casey up to interrogate the prisoner again.  The highlight for me is Sarah’s departing line “you’re right I’m different without Chuck, and I don’t like it.”

The trip to Thailand is the signature element of this episode.  We first learn Thai is among Sarah’s known languages (I believe the correct answer to the question “How many languages does Sarah Walker speak” is “All of them”), and that in a crowded bar full of cut-throats and thugs Sarah is the most fearsome presence in room.  The ensuing pit match, in keeping with Chuck tradition, is a great stunt sequence for television.  Not only is Sarah more than a match for the best pit fighter around, but she learns her friends have her back even in Thailand, and apparently Casey is no stranger to this neck of the woods (errr, jungle).  When the Belgian’s compound is located, the Bartowski rescue team charges in; Morgan working as the magnet (and comic relief) once again while Casey and Sarah do the heavy lifting.

Naturally its not quite clear if they will be in time…

I liked the visual representation of Chuck loosing his mind/personality.  Although it was kind of abbreviated, likely for time and money reasons, we had a couple places and many of the personalities that are key in Chuck’s life being stripped away from him.  The Buy More was kind of creepy/funny, which is entirely fitting for that setting.  The courtyard had Ellie and Devon being deleted.  Then home was interesting; we had previously seen dream Sarah “leave” Chuck (what did Chuck say?  “please don’t leave, I know this isn’t real, I know you wouldn’t do this.”  very sad).  But she’s back in his sub-conscience again, probably because the real article is weeping over him at this very moment.  The inter-cutting between real Sarah and dream Sarah is brilliant at this point; and what a performance.  We see the same dialogue being delivered in broken desperation and calm affection.  I really think this is one of the finest dramatic moments in the series.  Sarah desperately trying to bring Chuck back to reality; and Chuck, who has seen through every bit of trickery and unreality figuring out that this Sarah is something different.

The “B” plot of this episode is very funny.  Now I’d have to admit after 20 or so viewings its getting a little old, but it is a good use of the Buy Morons.  Devon makes an excellent straight man, and the Buy Morons really are a bunch of disgusting cretins, but apparently they actually can fix a computer (even if they did still think it was a Roark 7).

Just a few thoughts in summation.  This episode brings to an end a lot of the angst and relationship issues that have defined many earlier episodes.  Chuck and Sarah both reach a level of peace with their priorities.  Chuck will no longer be quite so insecure about who he is with or without the Intersect, who he is as a spy, or where he stands with Sarah.  And Sarah is now completely ready for that next big step in the relationship; no more anxiety about marriage.  She may yet have another freak out about kids, but she’s changed dramatically just since “Suitcase” or “Cubic Z” when everything seemed to moving too fast for her.  Now Sarah will actually be helping Chuck along with taking the next step (well, apart from accidentally shooting him down at the start of “Balcony”!)

Many of us felt this was an Emmy worthy performance for Yvonne Strahovski.  She really is a remarkable performer, and this may have been her best work to date (that’s actually not an easy call to make, there are several good choices for her).  The folks who matter didn’t share our enthusiasm, but “Chuck vs Phase Three” will remain a great example of why this show is so special.

~ Dave


About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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76 Responses to Summertime Top Ten: Phase 3

  1. OldDarth says:

    Great episode indeed.

    Could have been even greater if FOD had generated even a smidgin of an inkling of a dash of a glimmer of a lead in for Phase 3 by generating any sense of mortal peril in Chuck’s capture.

    Sigh. What should have been a hilight midseason trilogy of episodes of Chuck is reduced to this one shining jewel.

    A jewel of an episode diluted by two episodes of fractured fairy tale-ish spy story telling.

    • atcDave says:

      Well, I liked both those other episodes. Not nearly as much as Phase 3, which is a season and series highlight. But then that’s sort of the point here, we’re doing all-time favorite episodes, so naturally others don’t quite measure up. But I did like FOD’s story of Chuck trying to prove himself, until he was in mortal peril and realized Sarah mattered more than his professional standing. It certainly wasn’t as viscerally exciting as Phase 3, but I thought it was a good and fun episode in its own right and set up Phase 3 nicely. Leftovers was mostly just a little boring, except for Dalton’s outstanding madman villain.

      Obviously I have none of the animosity towards S4 some viewers do, it remains my favorite season of the show.

    • OldDarth says:

      That’s the signature part.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      So OD, are you saying that the fact Dave loved season 4 renders everything else he has to say irrelevant? That’s what it sounds like. I’d appreciate some clarification.

      • OldDarth says:


        Major projection going on your part Ernie.

        Given the frequency with which Dave ends his posts with variations of stating he loves Season 4, suggesting he make it a signature would be a major time saver for him was a small jest.

        I know humor does not always translate well in posted messages but am boggled at your interpretation.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well, to be fair “save you a lot of typing” sounds like most of his post, you know, the majority of the typing, could be summed up in a signature, as opposed to the single sentence stating he liked season 4. I, and Dave are happy to go on at length to provide context and explanation. You seem to like to toss out one or two lines and assume any misunderstandings are someone else’s problem. That’s why I asked for clarification. Thanks for that.

        But didn’t you famously declare you were done with Chuck and you wouldn’t post about it anymore?

        It’s not projection, it’s experience. Like it or not, intended or not, your style comes across with a nasty streak that dismisses other’s opinions as irrelevant or uninformed, and as I’ve argued before, how you are perceived largely depends on you, and is your responsibility.

      • OldDarth says:

        ‘Well to be fair,’ – which you are most definitely not being.

        The only nasty posts in this thread belong to you.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Fair enough. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie I appreciate the defense.

        OD I’m okay with being teased, but it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between friendly teasing and snark. I often find the format disorienting, most of my previous discussions (as in, all my life until 3 years ago) have involved some amount of “face time” where I could get to know a persons reactions and intents from a lot of visual and personal clues that we just don’t get with a pure text based conversation. I try to be more careful when I’m teasing here precisely because of what just happened, it is so hard to tell the intent sometimes.

      • OldDarth says:

        To repeat Ernie, fair enough.

      • Dale says:

        So OD you really gave up after all your investment? I mean 76 episodes worth? I mean you still watch fringe and their story telling structure is just as bad.

      • jason says:

        Dale – OD and I have sparred numerous times over Chuck, yet I love Fringe and at least I think he still does too. My take on Fringe, is I signed up for the type of show that gives me something, then takes it away. Where I should take nothing for granted, and never get comfortable, ever. But Fringe also does not have half its cast walking around with their pants around their ankles burping and farting (*although Fringe does have one such character) while all the lead couple does is make eyes at each other all season long, the way Chuck does.

        Consequences are fine, when the creative team has earned the right to impose them on the fans. Fringe is such a show, Chuck is something lighter, nicer, funnier, more fairy tale that has evolved into a funny, quirky nice little show, less nightmare that evolves into an epic tale.

        *Walter is the genius of Fringe, he is not a whole lot more cogent to the real world than Jeff or Lester, except he is brilliant, Jeffster serves no purpose in Chuck, other than to try to get laughs, I have long argued the B actors often define a show, hence Chuck is a ridiculous comedy while Fringe is a wild roller coaster ride.

      • olddarth says:

        Dale – yes I have stopped watching Chuck after the Agent X debacle. I don’t trust the showrunners any longer. I never gave up my investment. It still exists. It just ends after the first 3 seasons. And the bits of Season 4 where Timothy Dalton’s performance often exceeded the material he was given to work with.

        As to Fringe – since this site is not about that show I’ll keep it brief, it is my favorite show on TV.

    • Dale says:

      Good point ernie on OD quiting the show (I can bet any money he watched the last 2 episodes of season 4 and he will watch the rest of season 5,lol). Yvonne said in a recent interview that she thought a lot of fans who emailed in complaining about chuck and Sarah were “disturbed” and so what OD said was kinda funny, lol.

  2. Sam Carter says:

    Good ep, though there were no consequences whatsoever for Chuck’s brain. I thought he was in real danger, but I guess he was not after all.. I still think this was the real climax of the season.

    • atcDave says:

      I do agree with most of that Sam. We can guess some real damage could have been done if the process had run just a little longer, but they certainly never spelled anything out. We don’t know what the actual possible consequences of Phase 3 were. That may be the biggest flaw in an otherwise great episode.

      • Leigh says:

        I agree. I wish we’d gotten just a little of the consequences. It was nice that Chuck was fine, but it felt a little unrealistic to me. Don’t get me wrong, I adore this episode. And maybe I just wanted a scene where Sarah takes care of Chuck in the aftermath. 🙂

  3. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    Phase 3 is a highlight of the series.

  4. jason says:

    Someone should start a Letterman like Cuck post “You know you watched an episode of Chuck too often when ….”

    For me, on rewatch, that moment came in the very beginning, when Sarah is lying on top of Chuck, just before Lester is shown. The dialog went something like – a very sultry Sarah says to Chuck “I want you to do something for me” pause, “I want you to F……….lash” On rewatch this time I broke out laughing, loud, as I was not paying particular attention, and I turned to the tv, somehow filling in a different word during the pause as Sarah was holding onto that F… for a while. Sorry, has ANYONE else noticed that, or has EVERYONE else, I could be correspondingly exceedingly naive or perverse I guess – although some might argue I am indeed both.

    Anyway, only other thing that really stuck home that did not strike me before (it is possible I have not watched Push Mix since the end of the season), is just how much vs Cliffhanger is a sister episode to Phase 3, only Chuck and Sarah’s roles are reversed. Again, has EVERYONE noticed that too and I am just late to the party????

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I noticed Jason. Going to ultimate extremes to save a loved one is an awesome theme, and Phase 3 and Cliffhanger are sort of nice bookends for what Chuck and Sarah will do for each other. For me, that’s a big part of what is so satisfying about S4.

    • thinkling says:

      Yeah, me too, Jason. In fact when we were setting up our summer rewatch schedule, we made sure that Cliffhanger immediately followed Phase 3 … for just that reason. They are bookends and fantastic episodes for showing just how far they will go for each other … how really nothing else matters. Sarah was going to throw her career down the drain if necessary, and Chuck was going to leave his family forever, if necessary.

  5. AgentInWaiting says:

    “The inter-cutting between real Sarah and dream Sarah is brilliant at this point; and what a performance. We see the same dialogue being delivered in broken desperation and calm affection. I really think this is one of the finest dramatic moments in the series.”

    Completely agree with everything you’ve said here. If they were giving out Emmys for specific scenes in shows then I wouldn’t hesitate to put this against anything out there. Everything was pitch-perfect – acting, dialogue, direction, lighting, Chuck sees Sarah as he’s always seen her – in love but calm and collected. Meanwhile, the desperate, frantic Sarah is saying the same lines, giving us a different emotional hue to the words. So great.

    • atcDave says:

      Oh yeah! Combine that with some of the other moments, especially the bedroom scene with Morgan (hmmm, now it just seems wrong saying that!) and its not hard to remember why we were all thinking Emmy when this ran!

  6. thinkling says:

    Great write up Dave and a reminder yet again why I like Chuck, Sarah-centric episodes, and Yvonne Strahovski.

    There’s nothing I didn’t like in this one. The B plot was even enjoyable.

    It’s really interesting that of 78 episodes only 5 are Sarah-centric — 2 in S2 and 3 in S4. Of those 5 episodes, 4 made it into the top 20% favorites among our readers. I’d be curious to know it that’s pervasive. Anybody know? Now that we’re in the last season, I think TPTB have seen the light. What really still shocks me, though, is that they were worried how Phase 3 would be received. On our polls it was the #3 all-time favorite, just behind Colonel and Honeymooners.

    It was a good episode for Devon. He’s really not a computer guy is he. Cracked me up.

    It was a good episode for Morgan … one of the best. The Morgan sandwich, the Morgan magnet, and the Morgan/Sarah scene. There hasn’t been a bad Morgan/Sarah scene … ever. Most of them are funny or at least partly funny. This one was wonderful and sweet. I love it when they befriend each other.

    The outstanding scenes for Yvonne were … well, every scene she was in basically. I suppose if I had to pick the best, which I really can’t, it would be the intercut scenes with comatose Chuck: the anguished words wrenched from real Sarah’s heart in a very dark place and time vs. the soothing words from a dream Sarah bathed in light. Aces! … especially to Yvonne, but to Chuck and the writers and everyone else. The dream Sarah looks like the other dream Sarah’s, but the dialogue doesn’t jibe like with the dream Sarah’s. The conversations with the dream Sarah’s made sense. The one with the real Sarah doesn’t. The timing is off and the words are non sequiturs, of course because it’s a monologue, not a dialogue. It’s really brilliant.

    Oh well, I love this episode. Thanks for the great review, dave.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I thought about bringing up the lack of confidence TPTB seemed to have in this episode. I failed to locate the exact quotes I was looking for, but I believe it was Fedak who seemed surprised at how well it was received. I’m not sure how that little disconnect ever happened, but it would seem Sarah has long been more popular with fans than with the show runners. Obviously, some of the staff writers share our enthusiasm and give her some great material. But I really do think there is a difference between what TPTB want to do and what a majority of fans actually want to see. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe the gap is huge, if it was we wouldn’t be so pleased with the show so often. But there are little things like fans wanting to see more Sarah and less Morgan (and yes, I’m speaking for myself and making some general assumptions. I certainly could be assuming more viewers see things the way I do than is actually the case).

    • jason says:

      Think – taking note of your words, it was a good episode for Devon, it was a good episode for Morgan, it was a good episode for Yvonne, that one was obvious.

      I agree about the success of Sarah centric eps, we’ll see how they do in s5, assuming there are a few.

      One actor I’d like you to focus on if (when?) you rewatch Phase 3, AB. I thought he was really on top of his game, watch how he leads Sarah into her lines, Morgan too. He is the consummate pro. Anyhow, I failed to mention that earlier, when I read your bit about actors having good eps, I wanted to ‘cast’ a vote for Casey (thou I liked both Devon and Morgan too!)

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Yvonne had a good episode. I’m a master of understatement 😉

        You’re right about Casey. It was a great episode for him. I liked him standing guard as Sarah talked Chuck out of his coma. Such a transformed Casey. It was the same brotherly look he had at the wedding. He sometimes gets overshadowed, but he consistently turns in good performances. I can’t think of any “off episodes” from him.

  7. SarahSam says:

    More Sarah, interacting with everybody else. A winning combo.

  8. Verkan_Vall says:

    Thanks for the writeup, Dave. One of my favorite episodes and a pleasure to watch. I only wish it had a different place in the episode lineup, and had gotten the attention it deserved. If I recall correctly, this was the lowest rated episode of the season up until that point, but generated a significant buzz and the numbers jumped the next ep.

    @Thinkling, SarahSam: Ditto.

    More Sarah please.

  9. joe says:

    She will admit out loud that she loves Chuck for who he is and not the Intersect; next she will admit she’s different without Chuck (and she doesn’t like it!); and finally she will risk life and limb to rescue Chuck.

    Dave, you hit the nail. We love it when Sarah speaks! Really, what wows me about this episode more than anything (well, more than anything except the combined effect of the inter-cutting, the fight scenes, the special effects like the shattering glass and the “Twilight Zone” tinged effects of people disappearing from Chuck’s life) is the fact that so much is revealed about Sarah.

    “You’re right. I’m different without Chuck, and I don’t like it.”

    That’s comes from a deep place within her. Watching her linger over the scent on Chuck’s shirt is revealing a kind of sensitivity and vulnerability that we always wanted to see in Sarah, but could never get enough of.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think the fans have had a palpable hunger for it all along.

    Good stuff, Dave.

    • atcDave says:

      And its still satisfying after many viewings. So often, even fun tv shows and episodes don’t hold up well to repeats. Chuck does better than most, but some episodes, like Phase 3 and Honeymooners never seem to get old.

  10. Amron says:

    I rarely cry with a TV show, but the end of Phase 3 had me tearing… it was perfect… well, almost. I believe TPTB missed an interesting story plot to explore. I mean, the crazy doctor dude said Chuck’s mind was almost over! It would had been awesome if he, indeed, had some repercussion… But well, I hoped the same with the Fulcrum Intersect thing, and in the end it hadn’t any repercussion too…

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Amron that ending sure was powerful. I think Chuck’s comment about things being fuzzy and generally subdued demeanor was an understated conclusion. It might have been interesting if he’d had some memory gaps for a couple episodes; but this was already during the Intersectless arc and only one more episode until Christmas break, so I think they just wanted to wrap things up quickly. I’m sure you’ve seen a couple of fan fictions that dealt with this in more detail (I’d be happy to provide a couple of links if you’re interested), but in the end I’m perfectly satisfied that they just moved on to other things.

      • Amron says:

        Definitely, it was a good episode. My dark side (the shipper one, hehe!) was very happy and touched with it. Sarah’s trip is amazing because she didn’t go OC, on the contrary, it showed us an incredible sample of good development character: she’s the same few words woman (look at the bedroom scene before Morgan: no words and you actually can feel her pain) to the one that finally had to say the things loud, with an emotion that curl the skin (I hope you understand the last phrase, I translated it literally from Spanish, so it sounds funny). It’s also the beginning of Sarah and Morgan’s friendship: finally, two of the most important people in Chuck’s life found a bond… Now, from my Story SIde: the thing with the Intersectless arc was that it was too short, and for me, it was the beginning of the whole “Let’s make the Intersect mythology a joke instead of the powerful gift we told them it was in S1, S2 and S3”. I understand, however, why they wrapped things up quickly, but you see, that’s were the creativity comes: even with the Fulcrum Intersect, they did a few references at it… And I will love to read some fanfiction, so I will be grateful if you provide those links 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I think I understand what you’re getting at Amron and I mostly agree. I know I’m on record as saying I always sort of considered the 2.0 to be a mistake anyway. It made things a little too over the top for my taste, and it seemed like Chuck flashed on kung fu in the last act of every episode. I’m exaggerating a little, but I liked the S2 situation a little better the way Chuck was smart and HAD to use his brains to save the day all the time. Now I think S5 will be more like S2 in that regard, Chuck will have to rely on his smarts again. I would have liked to see the Intersectless arc go just another episode or two longer to show Chuck developing his actual spy skills without having the Intersect as a crutch. Of course, I’m one who was actually pretty happy with the season we got, so I don’t mean to make a big thing of it.

        The main fan fiction I was thinking of is “Sarah vs. Phase Three” by SicklyRaven. It does deal with teamB getting to Chuck just a little too late. It is ultimately a Chuck/Sarah romance; but it does follow a more angst-filled route than the show did. I should be putting up a new fan fiction post Monday or Tuesday which will include a longer review of this story.

      • Amron says:

        Damn it! It was perfect! Why, oh, why they didn’t go with something like this? One more chapter will have done it! See? that’s what I mean with the creativity part: SicklyRaven took the story and give us a good angst plot with the exact doses of romance for every part of Chuck fandom to be OK with that. I would had loved to watch Chuck as a machine, but at the same part I know I would had enjoyed the beach scene… They already had good characters, then why they insisted in screw the main story so much? Anyway, thanks for the link and I’ll be looking forward for the next fanfic post.

      • atcDave says:

        Amron I did enjoy that story, but I don’t believe it ever would have worked for the show. Just way too dark for too long. And it wasn’t all over yet in the end, it would have left us with a prolonged brain damage story line that I know I don’t really want to see from Chuck. I enjoy it as a “what if?” But I think the show as delivered was the better story; it was more upbeat and moved along to a new story more quickly.

    • Sam Carter says:

      @Amron “I rarely cry with a TV show, but the end of Phase 3 had me tearing… it was perfect… well, almost. I believe TPTB missed an interesting story plot to explore. I mean, the crazy doctor dude said Chuck’s mind was almost over! It would had been awesome if he, indeed, had some repercussion…”

      And more realistic and good source of drama, but the route they went with that easy fix was disappointing just like the end of the intersectless arc. Poor storytelling.

      Also, the only scene from this show that almost makes me cry is when papa B dies. I like Shaw, but I seriously want to hit him every time I see that scene. It’s a powerful one because it shows that the spy world is a really dangerous place. I also think that the character had served its purpose more or less. It was time for Chuck to grow up and become the next Orion and honor his father. That’s why I HOPE papa B remains dead, because if they revive him again, this show will lose any sense of reality and will become a complete parody of itself. I don’t want for that to happen.

      • joe says:

        Sam, like most all of our commenters, you write well. I’m fairly certain that when I read your words I know what you mean, I know what the thought process is/was and I understand the feelings. But man, this one I just don’t get.

        Good stories, no matter how fantastical or outrageous tell truths. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy speaks truths even though it’s outrageous in every sense of the word. So does Lord of the Rings, completely differently. Not one realistic scene in the epic. (Heh! Ents, indeed!)

        I don’t think a single Chuck viewer believes it realistically depicts life, for 20-somethings and that includes boys from the age of 9 on up. But its truth doesn’t lie in a nerd getting a super computer downloaded into his brain, does it? I don’t think it’s truth was ever in depiction of the spy world.

        James Bond movies aren’t much more realistic that way, actually.

        Chuck struck a chord in a lot of people when we saw Sarah shoulder-bump Chuck and say “Trust me.” We saw some truth when Chuck told her that he could not have the normal life he wanted with her because she was not “normal.” We saw truth when Chuck was bitterly disappointed that no one seemed to be in that small camper somewhere in the wind-swept desert outside Barstow, and Sarah could only touch him on the back of his neck for comfort. The one truth they had was love, and it’s one we tend to believe in.

        The rest is parody, funny, sometimes exciting. But you can’t get away from it, Sam. Most all the fans, like 99.44%, are not going to be upset that Chuck got away from The Belgian and his lobotomizer thingy with almost no after-affects. They were watching Sarah open up her heart to him and watching Chuck realize exactly what was happening. That’s what caused the cheering you heard!

      • atcDave says:

        I think you’re over stating your case there Sam! They’re making stuff up, it’s not like we can argue any science or reality where removing someone’s personality is concerned. It’s just as easy to assume the mind is elastic and will quickly recover if the process isn’t complete as it is to say massive damage will be done from the moment the process begins.
        Given how frustrated many viewers were with Chuck’s weakness during the Intersectless arc, I don’t believe a prolonged arc dealing with brain damage would have been any better received. And I for one am very pleased they didn’t mess with it. I watch television to have fun and have no interest in a longer depressing story.

        I would agree with some of your aside comments. The death of Orion was a powerful scene and I hope they don’t bring him back, except maybe for flashbacks; mainly because I prefer they keep some basis in reality and let death have some dramatic consequence. But I don’t buy the “necessity” argument, we’d already had the death of Bryce for that purpose. And I think Chuck gets the potential consequences of the spy biz. I’d call it more a death of convenience to explain the absence of an important character when the actor was no longer going to be available. I don’t see any sense in which Chuck needed to gow up by that point, except maybe knocking off the lying, and that was better addressed in 4.01

      • atcDave says:

        Very well put Joe about the climactic scene of Phase3! We were cheering loud for a beautiful, honest, and loving moment. And left with a warm satisfied feeling for having seen it.

      • jason says:

        Chuck forgetting Sarah could have worked, in theory, if eps 10 thru 13 had dealt with Chuck getting back both his memory and his mother. But if that was the case, the show would have to become the show Sarah for four more episodes.

        But 4×9 would have become an ep much like 4×11, thoroughly enjoyable until they killed the puppy at the end.

        Heck, want to really ratchet up the drama, introduce a blond neurologist to aid Chuck’s recovery, call her Lola, and a handsome new partner for Sarah, call him RIck.

        ON a roll, why not have 4×10 end with Sarah and Rick walking away as a fake married couple to go long term undercover to save Mary AND to get a fix for Chuck, with hapless / luckless / clueless Chuck and sultry, smoking hot Lola watching arm and arm.

        I’m not finished, why not have Chuck scream the words ‘Sarah?’ as she is walking thru airplane door just as it is closing. Why not even pop the words ‘Merry Christmas Chuck Fans’ as the airplane takes off, heck to save money, even replay Jeffster’s Jet Plane song from Honeymooners during this epic scene, that’d be pretty cool huh?

        TPTB tried to write this sort of script in season 3, do you fans of season 3 really think Schwartz and Fedak were going to get season 4 from NBC if they had walked into the room pitching this sort o script???????

      • Amron says:

        @Jason. I will answer, as a S3 fan: come on! I already said I liked Phase 3! What I would loved is for more story development, and it was just a wish… but since we are getting a little more… ummm… deep? (I really don’t know how to say it…), I will deepen more: I’m not asking for angst just for the sake of angst. I believe S3 it’s acceptable because is part of the storytelling (Chuck choose to be a spy, so he has to live with the consequences; the show us in S1 and S2 that spy life is hard, that spies are cold hearted -vs Santa Claus, for example-, so Chuck losing himself it was something predictable and logical). I understand why the Misery Arc is annoying for some of you, but even with the whole Hannah-Shaw thing, the cements of the story were respected (I’m talking of the Mythological Part). Now for Phrase 3, I found your answer here unfounded: can you point were S3 fans said we wanted to introduce new lovers? Talking for myself, I will say that is just nuts at this point of the story, when both Chuck AND Sarah had confessed their love and are a couple. (in S3, during the Misery Arc, no matter what you said, the weren’t, in S3 they were still “complicated”). What I’m asking is for a well-telled story who respect its own rules: as I said, in the same chapter the crazy doctor guy said Chuck’s memory was almost wiped and 10 minutes after we see Chuck just with a little migraine. With that, they only are impoverishing what they tell us before. I wanted a little of that care for details they showed us they can put. Orion, for example: we had the clues, they feed us with them since vs the cougars, when Chuck talks about his father, then Vs. the predator and finally with Vs, the dream Job. It was great storytelling! So great Orion is still a fan favorite and all of us were moved with Orion’s death. I seriously doubt, for example, that the same could be said for Frost and her poor, poor story.

      • jason says:

        Amron – sorry for poking fun – I love doing so because s3’s LI’s makes me angry, and since I can’t really post what I want to about LI’s on Chuck, I make fun of TPTB regarding LI’s. But in seriousness, 4×8 / 4×9 was a complete story with the oldest theme in the book – boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again – except of course it was girl has boy, girl loses boy, girl finds boy again.

        Buried in the snarky Lola and Rick fanfic segment, was the notion that the Chuck mind thing was still going to end up with a Eureka! – Sarah! – I remember! moment. Finishing it up in 4×9 rather than 4×13 (or 10 or 11) was part of why 4×9 was a great episode, as it finished the story. One problem with Chuck, they have told that same story over and over and over and over and over and over again – boy or girl gets, loses, and finds again. I am hoping s5 tells a different story …. but I am expecting some variation of the same theme yet again.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason while your sarcasm was a little over the top there I do agree with your main point; a big part of why Phase 3 works so well is it gives us Sarah’s big hero moment and a happy conclusion. It would have diminished the episode, certainly it would have annoyed a significant portion of the fan base instead of being one of the most popular episodes ever, if they had ended it on a down note. I remember well going into the episode we were all wondering if there would be long term consequences. The clear majority opinion was that we hoped not, weak and damaged Chuck was already getting old just from “Fear of Death.” But the really awesome thing is; we were all worried about it just enough that it added some weight and tension to the first viewing of the episode. We didn’t know if things would work out alright, which really kept us glued to our seats. Much as I’m completely a happy ending sort of guy, I would agree a little risk and tension is a good thing in a story. And they managed it perfectly this time, including the happy ending.

      • ArmySFC says:

        i won’t comment on the episode it’s self but the ending. on any show out there when something happens to one of main characters to me there is no drama in a situation like that. chuck in phase 3, sarah/casey in push mix/ cliffhanger, beckett on castle. did anyone really think chuck would not be fine or beckett would die? killing off or seriously injuring one of them for a significant time is just not going to happen in most cases. in fact i can’t think of the last time i saw it happen. it changes the show way to much for the show runners to go there, so i don’t even give it any thought. if it does happen it because the actor has left the show, and i most likely read about that before it happened.

        in most cases the results are the same as on chuck, very quick healing on the show. chuck recovery was very quick despite what was said about his memory. beckett was back at work by the ten minute mark that was a few months actual time on the show. in most cases it has little or no impact on the show, which makes me wonder, why do TPTB even do stuff like that anymore? back in the day it made sense because it was easier to keep things hidden because the information could not be put out as fast or in so many ways. now information can be found almost anywhere and in some cases things get leaked out all the time.

      • atcDave says:

        Army I agree there’s some truth in what you say. But not entirely, so many modern series feature terrible things happening to lead characters. Even if actual deaths are usually well telegraphed because of contract issues, various maimings and long term psychological damage are common. As I said elsewhere, there was much tension leading up to this episode because it had been well suggested that there could be long term consequences. And we were already in the middle of the Intersectless arc, so the possibility of longer term effects did seem to be there.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, like i said i can’t remember one, not one major series anyway. i won’t count house because he always had issues. it has happened in the past but how many times during season 4 did you or other members of this blog say, chuck won’t go that dark again, they learned their lesson after season 3? just like my saying morgan could be part of the big bad? they may have hinted some ways but you just knew they would never do that. it would be to dark to have chuck trying to regain his memories or trying to remember sarah and casey. it would ruin the fairy tale (not meant as an insult) they were spinning during season 4.

        so while some people may have felt some tension during the episode, all i thought was lets see how they spin it.

  11. Sam Carter says:

    yeah what Amron said. I really don’t care about every ep ending in a happy ending, that just feels kinda cheap and shallow to me. I prefer better character development and more interesting and compelling stories.

    • atcDave says:

      I think those are two unrelated issues. Character development is about growth and has nothing to do with a happy vs depressing ending. I wouldn’t call it about any kind of realism either, I know just as many people who have lived long and blessed lives as those who have bounced from one tragedy to another. I think for most viewers, a major part of Chuck’s appeal is the triumph over adversity. So while there needs to be adversity to overcome, it’s the victory over it that makes us stand up and cheer. Josh Schwartz once described the show as “wish fulfillment”. Given that theme, you can just bet things will usually work out for the best. In fact, one of the biggest complaints many of us have against S3 was a very prolonged period of despair before a poorly developed pay-off.
      If you want more pain and suffering in your television, no problem. That has become very popular in the last decade. It has actually become difficult for those of us who prefer positive and edifying themes to find the sort of programming that works for us. And Chuck is one of the very best. Apart from one miserable season, they have delivered a show about good people trying to do the right thing; and succeeding more often than they fail. That makes Chuck rare and special in today’s environment.

    • thinkling says:

      What Dave said. Happy endings aren’t shallow or cheap. Like Dave said, there are a lot of happy people in the world, so a happy story is as realistic as an unhappy one. There are many people who like entrainment that has happy endings, good triumphing over evil, people overcoming an unfair past or difficult circumstances. Chuck is that kind of entertainment, as well as being action, comedy, and romance.

      There are a few things I don’t like in “entertainment.” I don’t want to watch depressing lives that never take a turn for the better and end up as depressed as when they started (Canterbury’s Law, which I would have liked otherwise). Likewise I don’t care for a show where the characters never grow (House). And I really don’t like it when evil triumphs over good (Seven, The Usual Suspects).

      In the real world sure there are some people whose lives are always sad, some who never grow or overcome tragedy or adversity. Evil is out there, and it wins many battles. There are enough tears and grief and worry and fear in the world and on the news. But for entertainment I like to laugh and be reminded of happy lives and lives that inspire … heroes and people who overcome and love and give and help others.

      Obviously the other stuff sells, but I don’t often buy it.

    • Amron says:

      I like happy endings! An story that ends well could be prefect IF is well developed before. I mean, if I were just looking for angst, then I’m definitively watching the wrong show! Chuck’s wonderful in giving us fuzzy moments, it’s a candy for your mind. My levels of sugar tolerance may be not the highest, but I still love sugar…

      • thinkling says:

        Glad to hear it. If a person seriously didn’t like happy endings, they would have bailed on Chuck long ago. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Glad to hear you say that Amron! There are some commenters that make me wonder why they do still watch. Chuck explores the sort of themes that maybe COULD go dark, but the shows only does so in small doses.

  12. Sam Carter says:

    I like a good balance of dark and light and a well developed story with all the elements that make this show exciting: drama, suspense, action, comedy, and some romance. An hour of Chuck/Sarah relationship drama isn’t what I call fun. I really hope there is little of that in S5.

    • atcDave says:

      Sam I think all of us like a mix of various themes and elements. The issue is what we want that mix to look like. Its apparent you want a far darker mix than what the show actually delivers, and certainly a far darker mix than I ever want to see.
      And I will always object to your suggestion the show’s story elements are not well developed. I love the degree of sophistication we get on Chuck, as do a majority of the regulars here. You are always allowed not to like what we’re getting from the show, but characterizing it as not well developed is applying a qualitative issue to a matter of taste (much like saying “green” is inferior to “yellow”). We talk at length here about all the elements and how they’re balanced and developed; and these things are not trivial or poorly done. It is obvious you’re not really paying attention to what we’re writing. Again, not because you dislike the show we love, that is always allowed. But because you’re dismissing as poorly developed something that we’ve just spent thousands of words explaining how well developed it is… (and for the record, I mean someone other than me doing the explaining, I actually am shallow and my reviews generally prove it).

      • jason says:

        I am not surprised any more that some fans of Chuck who view it so differently than I do. I used to think they were just pulling everyone’s chain, but I now am convinced they are being honest about Chuck with consequences. For me, chuck as an action rom-com with a hint of spy is a pretty unique entity. Jeff, Lester, Morgan, Ellie, Awesome, Beckman, Mike & even Chuck are all comedic characters and sort of comedians in real life, and even Casey has become mostly Morgan’s (and Sarah’s and Chuck’s) comic foil, with Sarah the only serious regular character left, still serving as Chuck’s muse. I have never understood how fans can want to see that group of misfits act serious let alone take them seriously, but anyhow ….

        A serious spy drama rift with consequences, I mean those are a dime a dozen, one or two every night. I’m sorry, but Chuck isn’t one of those. I seem to recall a s1 Schwartz quote, something along the line we can’t out-Alias Alias or out-24 24, we are something different. I think other than season 3, they nailed what they set out to do. Getting 5 seasons on a floundering network like NBC while manning the competitive Monday at 7pm timeslot, no small achievement in this day and age.

        But, I really do hope that s5 is tightly written, and all fans who are left end up pleased, serious ones as well as the ‘Get Smart 2011″ crowd, along with everyone in between.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that Jason, although I really think some viewers have decided to be dissatisfied regardless. I would also add that Sarah has acquired a certain comic aspect of her own. I’m not quite as doubtful of the rest of the casts ability to deliver real drama, but absolutely the comedy is what makes this show so different from every other spy show out there. And it’s why I have an affection for Chuck that I don’t have for Burn Notice. I guess I should also mention Alias and 24 are shows I gave up on for being too dreary and tedious.

      • Big Kev says:

        I think it’s instructive how many conversations on this blog, and about this show generally, come back to the same thing – the balance of the show, what we all love about it, in what proportions and what sort of Chuck would keep us all happy.
        Maybe I’m being pretty simplistic about this, but some things seem pretty obvious to me when I consider all the posts and conversations that I’ve been a part of over the last 2 years.
        Season 3 was much too dark and angsty and teen drama for a large portion of the fanbase.
        Season 4 was much too light and fluffy and rom-com for another (probably equal and opposite) portion of the fanbase.
        My guess is that the last time the fandom was united, and the show was giving everyone enough of what they love, was the back half of season 2. It’s one part of the show’s story that I’ve never heard any large numbers of people complain about. There’s enough Chuck and Sarah for the shippers. There’s enough twisty drama for the more serious fans. There’s great use and involvement of the whole cast. The comedy delivers in spades, as it always does. And it’s all tied together with a family-heavy, heartwarming mythology, that’s pretty coherently written and gives the whole thing a sense of something so much better than your average rinse and repeat episodic.

        My one wish for Season 5?? That the writers pull out the back half of Season 2, and go back to the last time this show worked for virtually all of its fans. And try and hit that combination of elements again.

      • thinkling says:

        BigKev, I agree about balance. I think it’s obvious when we pick our top episodes what types of shows achieve that balance. Some of our favorite shows have a bit of a dark streak (Santa Claus), but most of them are a bit lighter. I don’t mind ocasional dark, with a purpose and resolution.

        I disagree, though, that the groups who disliked S3 v. S4 are equal and opposite. I think the portion of the fanbase who disliked S3 was proportionally much larger and much more egregiously offended than the detractors for S4.

        S3 darkness for me went on too long in areas that were needed to sustain the likeability of the show. A lot of it seemed to be darkness for darkness sake, especially when it was dragged out as much as it was. Anyway, I commented at length about it in my journey’s piece. Some dark areas were left unexplored, that would have been interesting to explore. Instead they went for CRM teen angst for 12 episodes. Plus the Ring was, IMO, the poorest of the long term villains. But I digress. Someday I may do a S3 post and delve into it, but not today.

        S2 and S4 seem equally beloved by our regulars, or at least the ones who participate in the polls. S2 had more tension because of the government … the threat of termination or bunkering Chuck. (That side of the threat went away in PS (poof), when Chuck was sent home to eat cheese puffs and await his fate. It was substituted by the CRM (poor decision from my POV)). S2 had Fulcrum, Gov threats, and the Orion/dad hunt (I saw that they were the same from a long way off, but I still enjoyed it). S2 was still wt/wt for Chuck and Sarah, but there was little doubt about their feelings for each other throughout.

        S4 had Volkoff and the mom hunt … no more threat from the “good guys.” I personally enjoyed the mom hunt as much as the dad hunt, and I see no more holes in the how’s and why’s of one over the other. I thought Volkoff was the best villain … a classic villain, playing on the international stage and threatening world stability. Of course, TD made him that much better. For me the story of S4 was as good as any season’s story. I can see how the season long focus on the CS relationship progression (proposal/engagement/marriage) might have been too much for some, though I personally enjoyed it. In some ways it was necessary for Sarah’s journey, which is in the real realm. If Sarah was to become that real girl, her progress had to be in relationships and real life stuff, whereas Chuck’s journey had been mostly in spy stuff. However, in S4 his mom/abandonmnet issues were being dealt with, too. (Interesting that some people who complained that Chuck’s issues were never dealt with didn’t like it much once they were.) So for some the balance was lost. I see most of the ingredients, though, that were there in S2 (except the Gov threat). You had the Intersect-less arc, which I liked, but many complained about. Balcony arc had its dark tones. Again I liked it, but many didn’t. I liked the Agent X reveal and the final arc. All of those are part of what I thought was a really good story and the final leg of the journey to get Chuck and Sarah back to where they needed to be … to be whole and completely who they were supposed to be. The S4 story and villain that worked for me didn’t work for some others.

        Now, what do I hope for in S5. Logically the CS relationship won’t be the focus. That’s resolved. I hope to see CS settled, a great spy team and a happily married couple. We shouldn’t see, IMO, weekly issues between them or a focus on their relationship. It will be there adding strength and humor and heart to the show. I hope we’ll see episodes like Couch Lock, A-Team, FBOE, and Muuurdr with regard to CS working together as a great spy team/couple. The spy story seems to have moved front and center. I really do hope they write a good, tight story that everyone will like, so that the people who weren’t wild about S4 will really! like the story and action of S5. They’ve set it up in a way that should restore some things that were lost after S2.

        1. Family. All the family knows about the family biz, so we should get some great fresh family interaction in all areas: family, spy world, Buymore.
        2. Dual threats. Besides an array of bad guys and missions, we have the return of a government threat against Chuck and his whole team, stakes we haven’t seen since S2. There will be a return of the tension of not knowing who to trust.
        3. The Buymore will regain some of its relevance to the show, as it has become relevant to Chuck again … for the first time since Ring. Chuck and Sarah owning the Buymore gives them a cover, but it also saddles them with the Buymore as part of their real life (like it was for Chuck in S2). CS in the Buymore has great comic potential. The Buymore could be funny again.
        4. By giving Morgan the Intersect and thus inserting him into the spy world, his screen time becomes funnier and more meaningful. I’m convinced that Morgansect is going to be a comedy tool, not just for Morgan, but for Chuck and Sarah and also for Casey. It’s also going to push Chuck’s growth as a spy without the Intersect.

        So that’s why I’m hopeful about S5. I think they’re going to hit that balance again.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for some great comments Thinkling, and especially thanks for bringing up our fan polls. Given how outspoken and dogmatic some of the S4 detractors have been I think it’s easy to come to the mistaken conclusion that S4 was as poorly received as S3, yet that is pointedly not true. A few variations on polling we’ve done show a number of popular episodes and overall enthusiasm for S4 nearly matches the “Golden Age” of S2; while S3 does not fare nearly as well.
        So if you’re one of the many readers at this site who loved S4, don’t worry about being out of step or in a minority or any such thing; you are in good company.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        If, however, you liked season 3 you’re SOL here. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie you know you’re always welcome to join the argument! In fact, you’re one of the few who’s ever scored any S3 cred with me.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I know Dave, just having some fun with our reputation for mamoth season 3 bashing threads.

      • Big Kev says:


        Excellent post in reply!
        I’m not going to quibble about the relative size of the factions who disliked each season. You may well be right. I think the difference is that those who disliked S3 did so immediately and loudly, whereas most who disliked S4 came to that realisation grudgingly, a few episodes in. The nature of the disappointment is different – but my point is that both blocs of detractors are large, and ultimately really damaging for the show.
        I share a lot of your thinking about the possibilities for S5. I’d love to see Ellie fully involved in the Bartowski family business, and Sarah Lancaster finally given a story arc to get her teeth into. I’m very hopeful that Chuck and Sarah will be a fun kick-ass spy couple, and whiny Chuck will either be bunkered (please….) or at least kept to a minimum. I think a tightly-written, all encompassing conspiracy theory could absolutely return us to the insidious danger of the CIA in the first and second seasons. I’m really glad to see Sarah’s mother, and she’s been well-cast. There are loads of very promising ifs….
        The biggest obstacle for me (simply) is that I just don’t like 3 of the 6 writers. LeJudkins and Newman are both excellent (save one poor episode each last season), and I’m OK with Klemmer – but Di Gregorio, Myers and (especially) Wootton don’t work for me. Their episodes usually left me very flat, for a multitude of reasons, the only real exception being Couch Lock (Myers, I think…)
        So for me, S5 comes down to those writers. If they raise their games and deliver on some of the real possibilities that you mentioned in your post, then I’ll be very happy with S5. If not, I’m expecting 4 or 5 great episodes from LeJudkins, Newman and/or Klemmer and an awful lot of fast-forwarding. We’ll see what happens!

        S4 opponents are outspoken and dogmatic? Seriously?? In specific cases you might be right, but that reads a little like Jeff criticizing someone for drinking on the job…

      • atcDave says:

        Kev I don’t count you as one of those detractors, I know you don’t consider it your favorite season but your criticism has generally been balanced and reasonable. You know we see comments here from folks who are eager to make harsh and emotional criticisms that are fully the equal of anything I’ve ever said about S3. I find it amusing since I have no reservations about saying my S3 complaints are primarily emotional in nature (not exclusively, just mostly); yet the S4 detractors are usually claiming qualitative or objective problems while their tone is inflammatory and very emotional. I just find the inconsistency funny, in a frustrating sort of way.

      • thinkling says:

        BigKev, I think whiny Chuck is gone … that’s certainly my hope. I think (refresh me if I’m wrong) that really whiny Chuck disappeared after Leftovers. My theory on that is that the Intersect-less arc dealt with him once and for all. That was its purpose. Chuck still had some lingering insecurities about his deserving Sarah, and he had his mom/abandonment issues. Take away the Intersect, and he was forced to deal with both of those, all at once, in the raw. His Sarah insecurities were put to rest in Phase 3. What we saw in Leftovers was little-boy Chuck who was still deeply hurt and angry with his mother. I don’t think for a minute that the whiny Chuck in Leftovers was the same as whiny Chuck in S1 or any whiny Chuck previously seen. He was past that. The whiny Chuck of Leftovers was one that had been buried for years. He came out just a bit in Aisle of Terror and First Fight, but he exploded in Leftovers. At the end of Leftovers, though, he seemed to have made peace with his mom. After that, I don’t recall any more whiny Chuck.

        The growth of S4 seems to have had sticking power, instead of the 2 steps forward, 1 step back rhythm of former seasons. So my hope is that we are past a lot of that in all areas, so we can move on to hero/leader Chuck and our favorite married spy couple doing great things together. It sure looks like it’s going to be TeamB against the world.

  13. OldDarth says:

    Well stated Kev. Coherent writing is about balance which is built on observing consequences. Consequences have nothing to do with dark and light. Consequences, like continuity, are all about building three dimensional characters that earn their moments instead of being story puppets. Without those, there is no honest story telling.

    And no balance.

    • atcDave says:

      I would agree about consequences if it’s just matter of saying a dead character should stay dead or some other issue of concrete truth. But to make a big deal of a made up procedure not having “realistic” consequences is truly silly and petty. It strikes me as the very definition of looking for something to complain about.

      And I disagree strongly about saying the “consequences” are not an issue of light or dark story telling. Very few things have consequences set in stone. How the story teller chooses to set outcomes will absolutely determine the light or dark tone of a story. The light or dark mood my be exaggerated if the outcomes are regularly unlikely in one way or the other (bad things always happening against the odds would be dark, while good things happening against the odds would be light). Of course unlikely outcomes is sort of a defining trait of action-adventure themed stories. Keeping such a story overly “realistic” is boring in a way that few viewers would actually sit still for.
      Now I would agree that other issues are likely more important in determining how light or dark a story will be perceived as being; the motives and actions of the protagonist(s) probably being the most important issue. But consequences or outcomes clearly matter too. If one of your heroes is shot and killed several times a season the show will feel dark. While on the other hand, if no one ever dies or is even hurt, the story will feel light and fluffy. And ultimately light or dark is an issue of audience perception, not objective reality.

    • jason says:

      I must admit, I am not a tv scholar or anything, but common sense dictates some linkage of consequences to actions, BOTH good and bad.

      As consequence of Chuck’s taking time for the ballerina, he caught Sarah’s eye – a happy consequence to a good action, one that ‘hooked’ many fans to the show.

      As consequence of Chuck saying no to Sarah in Prague, he lost her – a sad one.

      The epic ending for s3, Chuck getting the girl back, the linkage was not as well defined for me, possibly a result of Chuck simply asking Sarah to return or a possibly as result of Chuck not killing in his red test, either of which were woefully inadequate for the amount of story wasted on the subject. I know Chuck got Sarah back, I am not even sure why????

      Another poor linkage, as result of Shaw hating Chuck, he executed Orion? WTF – for all Orion was to this show, that was his going away story – possibly the poorest written episode of Chuck ever, that wasn’t the 7th,8th,9th,11th, or 12th eps of season 3.

      For s4, in anniversary, as consequence of Chuck’s year long obsession with lies, a no secret no lie pact was entered with Sarah – a satisfying one for me & for many.

      In phase 3, as consequence of Sarah’s love for Chuck, she saved him overcoming what felt like great obstacles – en epic consequence.

      In Leftovers, as consequence of Volkov’s affection for Frost or maybe as consequence of how well Frost knew how to manipulate Volkov, he spared Frost’s family – a good one.

      In Balcony, as result of Sarah volunteering to help Chuck, she was separated from him and sent undercover, a consequence that did not feel either happy or welcome after fans nearly got their season long wish of engagement, but on paper, fairly appropriate use of action – consequence in the 3rd last episode of a series.

      In Gobbler, as result of Sarah going undercover to save Mary, she nearly killed Casey – a bad one.

      In agent X, as result of Orion creating Volkov, we were told Mary went undercover for 20 years, a sad one.

      In Last Detail, as result of Chuck hurting Vivian, she hurt Sarah, a depressing consequence.

      In Cliffy, as result of Chuck and Sarah’s show long romance, they married. A very satisfying final consequence.

      But overall, what I describe seems like balance to me, if anything, I’d like more happiness and fun, certainly not less? I wonder if you really want balance, it seems you want an imbalance, and for you consequence is purely punitive in nature?

      • atcDave says:

        Well put Jason, especially your last (although I don’t quite agree about the deficiencies of Subway, I think it was a pretty good, but not great, episode).

  14. Good morning chuck fans!

    first to all to Ernie, good article on “THE OTHER GUY REVISITED”. Now to “phase 3
    this is the first time I’ve seen Sarah so emotional in different ways in this episode since the “FAKE NAME” and how different Sarah is when chuck is not around her. Chuck is definetly is her emotional anchor! Sarah realizes when you loved someone, you tell them right then and there because you never know what can happen especially in spy world.

    Now as far as Chuck is concered, He’s leaning to be a spy without the use of the intersect! I remember in the episode “THE OTHER GUY” when Chuck and Casey were flying to Paris,France to save Sarah from Shaw; Chuck was looking through Shaw’s files with the help of the Intersect, but could not find the location of where Shaw has taking Sarah!But Casey Said! Chuck, stop depending on the Intersect! Before you became a spy and before you have the Interscet, you were smart! I believe that there were to much dependecy on the Intersect especially on Shaw’s part in S3 and Casey realize that after what happened in “THE BEARD” when Shaw with Sarah and Casey’s support benched Chuck for not flashing and not his failure to stop Gruber from trying to kill Shaw and Sarah in “THE FAKE NAME”. Casey also realizes that there is more to being a spy than just having the Intersect!

  15. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs Phase Three (4.09) | Chuck This

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