Readers Digest Rewatch: The Defeat of Fulcrum, Pt 2

The Ring

Everything is different. Chuck thinks that he’s – not about to loose a sister, but gaining a brother. The Intersect is gone or at least safely in government hands. Stephen is back. Fulcrum has been blasted to smithereens, and most of all, we watched Chuck and Sarah share the most passionate of moments. It’s a perfect day! And Chuck’s life in the Buy More?

Chuck vs. The Ring opens to Chuck and Casey marching into Emmett’s office to the strains of a stirring song by The Thermals, Now We Can See. Just like that, Chuck frees himself from the Buy More and Emmett’s tyranny. Along with Casey, he quits.

No more Buy More, and no more you. You can take your flag and shove it.

Casey dittos that. I think my jaw dropped to the floor. No more Buy More???


There’s no getting around it. Everything is different. No doubt about it – the events of the past few episodes left my head spinning. I mean, first, Chuck and Sarah’s passion in Barstow and now this? Chuck quits the Buy More and it feels like he’s quit his old life. Now that he’s free, Chuck is (happily) facing the question about what to do next, and he has an answer – anything he wants! But we gotta ask – what might that be?

Oh, we think we know. It’s an extra long slow-dance with his date at Ellie’s wedding. After that? Whatever Chuck decides, it doesn’t include the Buy More or the Intersect or Being A Spy ™. And his pay-packet gives him the options he needs to find something else.

But for Sarah, the future is not so clear.

Beckman puts her in charge of the new Intersect project. That means she’ll be off to Zurich in the morning, and I imagine that’s quite a heady assignment, even for a veteran spy like Agent Walker. As he walks in, all dapper and smug and “James Bond”, we hear Bryce say the words Walker and Larkin, together again, and they come like the sound of a needle screeching over an LP.

Remember I said that, like Morgan, Sarah was about to face a big question about who she was and what she wanted to do next? It happens the moment Bryce walks confidently into Castle. Bryce. Pretty boy. Nemesis. Sarah’s ex. He’s come to be the new Intersect and he’s come to take Sarah away. Now both of them, Chuck and Sarah, have to decide on the futures they want. As we watch, both of them put one foot squarely in directions that lead away from each other – Chuck away from the spy world, and Sarah towards Zurich.

But the other foot?

Sarah: You look like a real spy.

Chuck: You look like a real bridesmaid.

It’s Chuck who seems to make the first move back to Sarah, when he tells her that he’s recently come into a bit of money. Then he proposes…

Sarah Walker, will you do me the honor of… taking a vacation with me?

A VACATION??? [Pardon me while I speak to my boy for a second.] Chuck, that was not the proposal she was expecting!

Me either, for that matter. Well, Sarah has her priorities too, and saving the world with Bryce does come a little before a vacation at this point in her life, so, no, she’s leaving in the morning. With Bryce. As Sarah painfully tells Chuck her plans, the music sings in refrain “It’s a perfect day.” Right.

Wanna Make God Laugh? Tell Him Your Plans

There’s a bit standing in their way – Ted Roark, for one. Fulcrum. As much as we thought Orion’s nemesis and that evil CIA-spawned cabal were finished thanks to Beckman’s air-strike, they’re not quite done yet. Chuck is shocked to discover that Roark is there to take the Intersect Cube back and to destroy Ellie’s wedding, not to mention kill all the guests. Chuck is quite willing to give him the Intersect cube.

And just when we thought Chuck was going to have a happy ending, too! After all, the show had not been renewed and NBC-U had been, up to that point, pretty cagey about it’s prospects of renewal. The fans had gone a little nutzo thinking that buying Subway Sandwiches on Mondays was going to make a difference, and… well, wait. There was still about 50 minutes of air-time left in the episode. Maybe something would happen to change their minds. Right? We all thought that.

It seemed like Chuck the show had accidentally and perfectly caught the fans mood about the show continuing by letting us know Chuck and Sarah were not quite there yet. “There’s more to the story!” they screamed at us. Certainly, the fun wasn’t over yet.

Why are you letting Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian wreck your wedding?

But that doesn’t mean everyone is going to enjoy themselves. With an assist from Morgan, Jeffster (Mr. Roboto), Bryce and Casey’s squadron of marines Ellie’s wedding is wrecked. Less than half way through the episode, we’re treated to one of the most raucous fight scenes ever as Ted Roark comes close to destroying the entire reception hall (it takes Jeffster to do that!), but is defeated at the last possible moment by Casey’s squadron and by Orion.

I waited 20 years to do that!

Oh yeah, as a by-product, Bryce tells Chuck that he knew about Orion all along. Bryce was the only one Stephen trusted, and asked him to look after Chuck as early as Stanford. It was all to keep Chuck away from the Intersect, and when that didn’t happen, Bryce knew that Sarah would find him and protect him. Despite all the emotional content of those last episodes in season 2, we learned a lot about Chuck, Orion, Bryce and Stanford at the very end.

Picking Up The Pieces

Sadly, Fulcrum’s intrusion is not just a minor centerpiece problem, and the wedding is canceled. It is officially a disaster, and Chuck realizes that despite everything, his spy life has wrecked his real life again. He just wanted to be a normal guy.  It felt so sad at that moment, I found myself wondering if being “a normal guy” was still what Chuck wanted.

Normal is not what he is, after all. Chuck, being our Chuck, comes up with a plan. Do you think that Sarah has time for one more mission before she takes off? You bet.

What’s the plan? Well, it involves Casey’s team and Ellie’s forgiveness. It involves Slow Club singing Christmas TV, and it’s a wonderful beach wedding. It’s just what Ellie wanted, it’s just what the fans wanted.

But what it is that Sarah wants? On the beach, Bryce knows something’s up. He doesn’t ask, but tells her (and confirms) that Sarah’s not leaving for Zurich in the morning. Just come on home, Sarah.

Now I have a question for you. Did you think it was Chuck, or Sarah, or Casey who finally defeated Fulcrum? It wasn’t. One of Casey’s key men is Miles (Tug Coker), and it’s clear that they have a history. Casey saved Miles’ life at least once. We were all surprised when, out of nowhere, Miles assassinates a smiling Roark in his cell, finishing Fulcrum and opening up a whole new mystery. Just come on home, Roark.

Chuck and Sarah have their slow dance. Finally, after prompting from Chuck, Sarah has to face The Question ™ head on – what does she want? Well, it’s not to save the world. Is it to be with Chuck? No, we don’t find out. Her long-awaited answer is interrupted by Orion’s flash, and Sarah’s mission becomes saving Casey and Bryce. And Chuck? That’s his mission too. Even without The Intersect, Chuck can’t quite leave the spy world. Not yet. And Sarah can’t quite join Chuck’s world. Not yet.

After all, making your dreams come true is hard. Very hard.

And, oh yeah, the data architecture is all different in this Intersect. Even Orion doesn’t know what it does. Chuck’s not a spy any more, but it’s the Intersect we’re talking about, and he’s a Bartowski. For the second time in this action packed episode, we’re treated to an epic action scene as Chuck, Sarah and Casey chase Miles and his team through Castle, where, in all amazement, we see Bryce dying in an Intersect room. He gives Chuck the means to destroy it. Bryce’s dying words are that Sarah wasn’t going to come with him, and that Fulcrum doesn’t matter. They’re just one part of The Ring.

And my head had been spinning for an hour. Everything was different.

No, Chuck is not over. The Intersect is not over. In an amazing leap of faith, Chuck re-intersects himself discovers new capabilities and the fans see the words – To Be Continued.

We all cheered, but mostly we cheered because the story of Chuck and Sarah was not over.

The Future

We the fans ended season two with a sense of elation and excitement that seemed unprecedented. Perhaps it was. The Subway campaign certainly drew attention and contributed to the network’s decision to renew Chuck for another season. But there’s no getting around it – many things were not as we expected. We invented a lot of “Could have”s and “Would have”s and “Should have”s concerning the story lines and characters. What if they knew earlier about the show being canceled? Would Chuck and Sarah been together forever in our minds after Barstow? What if Matt Bomer hadn’t signed on for White Collar and the show renewed? Would Bryce have tempted Sarah and tormented Chuck?

And would there even have been a “Ring”. It’s all unanswerable now, but our imaginations worked overtime on the possibilities.

It looks to me now that, in some ways, the question Chuck and Sarah faced – What do you want? – was put before us, the fans, that summer. We can argue forever if TPPB heard our response, but I’m guessing that what we saw for the next three seasons was something akin to giving us everything we asked for, even if it didn’t always seem that way. What we got was not what your normal show would have given the fans.

But we’ll get to that as we continue our reviews.

– joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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68 Responses to Readers Digest Rewatch: The Defeat of Fulcrum, Pt 2

  1. There certainly was a Ring. As early as The Predator, we see Vincent standing in the spotlight and the five shadowed Elders giving him permission to hunt Orion, with the Ring emblem right over their heads. They aren’t given a name at that point, is all.

  2. atcDave says:

    A couple of interesting thoughts at the end there Joe. It makes me think how much the S2 finale was like the S5 finale. Both left us with so many questions and a vaguely troubled feeling about tough questions regarding the future for these characters. Of course the big difference is; as we dig deeper into the series finale the clues all indicate a pretty happy future, while digging deeper into the end of S2 it was easy to see some trouble ahead. Now I guess its my optimistic nature that I never expected things to get as bad as they did; but it sure is clear that beneath the surfurce of that S2 finale was not a smooth road ahead…

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      Dave,

      For many different reasons, I see the intersect 2.0 as where the show changed, and not necessarily for the better IMO. The supposed “everyman” angle that had captivated most of us was replaced by the “superhero” story.

      • atcDave says:

        You know I agree entirely Shep, I was never a great fan of the 2.0 either.

      • Sam Carter says:

        Agent Smith: It was inevitable.

        I loved the use of the Intersect 2.0 in season 3. It was exciting. But I also loved it that the show remembered that Chuck was smart even without it (Other Guy, Ring 2). It was a good balance. I also liked Chuck in S5.

      • olddarth says:

        Cap’n, my read is that very little would have been different even if Intersect 2.0 had never come into play. The execution of the S3 arc, not the concept, was the issue. After that, the show’s Robin Hood writing – taking the best elements of Chuck’s character and giving them to other characters; most notably Morgan – was the real culprit IMO.

        The everyman characteristics of Chuck were lost in S3 never to return.

      • joe says:

        This is an interesting (if academic) discussion! I saw (and noted) a criticism similar to Shep’s above from a person I respect, but it was directed to the Sarah character, not Chuck. It claimed that, in essence, Sarah went from “Superhero” to “girlfriend” about that same time.

        And that’s what you’re addressing, OD, except in reverse. All these seem to be criticisms about the conception, not the execution (but I fully recognize that there’s a blurry line between the two, like there is between tactics and strategy in Chess).

        I’m a little forgiving about the execution, because much of that was affected by outside events, especially the nonsense happening at NBC-U about then. Budgets rule, you know. But the concept is a different animal. I firmly of the school that the story reaches us as individuals, and not all of us will accept it at all times. Some of us will.

        Right now I’m obsessing with the concept of Nerd & Hottie, as conceived in Chuck vs. TBBT.

      • olddarth says:

        Hi Joe.

        Sorry didn’t mean to imply that only the Chuck character suffered in the latter seasons.

        So did Sarah.

        But I do not agree with the premise that her decline came as a result of Chuck’s hero journey. Hers was more due to conflicting back story additions and lack of a clear goal beyond her relationship with Chuck.

        And she became the lazy go to punching bag solution when the show needed to create tension rather than the show strive to create scenarios where Chuck and Sarah could work in tandem to resolve a problem.

      • joe says:

        I tend to agree, OD, about Sarah.

        You almost get the feeling that originally, she was precisely that mysterious, undefinable object of adoration that Chuck and the fans made her out to be. But that’s not a person. That’s an object. Then the show started filming and the character wasn’t quite fleshed out.

        It got worse. Yvonne showed us that there was actually a character in there and most of us went crazy for more.

        I’m still saying that, for TV, they did a pretty good job of giving us something above and beyond their original goal (and above and beyond the original story). But I certainly understand the objection. Something even greater was always just around the corner.

      • atcDave says:

        OD I would say the 2.0 was at the very least, emblematic of why Chuck was less relateable in S3. Not to say it was the only, or even the biggest problem. But it does represent the beginning of Chuck being a character I didn’t particularly relate to any more. Throw in things like using Chuck as more the “buffoon”, his straying from Sarah, and occasionally being more of a whiner and you get a more complete picture. Now don’t get me wrong, in S4 and S5 I had no problem rooting for Chuck as the good guy in an ugly world; but starting with the 2.0 I never related to him in quite the same way again.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        @Joe

        I’ve often thought that YS made SW into a character TPTB didn’t know what to do with (or particularly wanted) at times.

        SW’s “passivity” and “woe is me” attitude for 13 episodes instead of actually “doing something” in order to make her “the girlfriend” will forever leave me shaking my head.

      • atcDave says:

        Pretty well put Shep. I would say it wasn’t until Phase Three that I was mostly over the way Sarah was treated in S3. (that is, I also thought she was too passive and didn’t take any initiative where Chuck was concerned).

      • garnet says:

        Perhaps as self confessed Nerds they didn’t really know how to write “the nerd gets the girl scenerio”, and once they did they didn’t know what to do with her!

      • joe says:

        Sorry. I’m coming back to this a little late. Re: Dave’s comment about Phase Three

        Yeah, I agree. That was the point where a lot of us saw S2 Sarah again for sure. It was almost like she woke from a deep sleep or somethin’.

        Makes me wonder if that wasn’t by design. Watching in rapid succession makes it appear that way (and it should. Much of the frustration about S3 was about how LOOOONG it took to get them back to the way they were in Barstow, which is alleviated when you watch in rapid succession).

        And that seems to be exacerbated in Castle. Fans have been waiting even longer for quite a bit less in payoff (so far).

  3. Ring had one of the best single-episode collections of music of the entire series: Now We Can See, Looking at the Sun, Mr. Roboto, Christmas TV, Friday I’m in Love, and 3 Rounds and a Sound. I rank up with the pilot.

  4. Gord says:

    A great episode, but the one thing that really bothered me in that episode was so-called super-spy Bryce Larkin taking one gun and one clip of ammo to the fight with Roarke. At the very least he could have carried a spare clip or two and maybe brought a gun for Sarah.

    With regards to the music, I think the refrain of Christmas TV was directed at Sarah’s decision to “Come on home” just as Mr Roboto was so appropriate for Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Gord they sure made Bryce look like a doofus in that scene!

    • That scene had Jeff shooting flares indoors, but Bryce still looked like a bigger idiot. Either he really embellished his reports, or he didn’t bother filing it that afternoon. Because if Beckman had read about Bryce’s great plan, they would have been looking for a better Intersect candidate. Sorry, I’m done ripping on Bryce… for now.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Well in fairness Bryce’s plan was to trade himself, not shoot it out. But this is the episode that (eventually) taught me to watch and enjoy and appreciate Chuck for what it is, not what I wish it was or claim it could be if only…

      The stupid stick is a Louiville Slugger, and it is grasped and swung with great gusto by the entire cast. But man was it a fun episode.

      • That plan wasn’t much better. At least Shaw was using himself as a homing beacon. Maniacal bad guys can’t be trusted to trade. Bryce’s stupidity was earned. He did not require a stick. Wait, I said I was done ripping on Bryce. I’m not complaining. His plan is part of what made that scene work. It is still one of my favorite of the entire series–a perfect mix of humor, action, and drama.

      • atcDave says:

        Isn’t it funny?! I mean, Bryce was a total idiot, and I do occasionally have problems with the stupid stick moments, but dang that shoot out while Jeffster performs has to be one of the best scenes ever on network television!

      • joe says:

        Well put, Ernie. Appreciate it for what it is.

        Gotta say, though. It’s been hard to temper my enthusiasm. Even when I know that sometimes it was just my own personal triggers that got pinged on, it was a little to easy to get carried away.

        And fun, too! 😉

  5. garnet says:

    I have spent considerable time thinking about why CHUCK affected me the way it did. I grew up with the old Rockford Files, Mannix, Cannon, FBI, Dallas, and H50 not to mention Star Trek (a bit young for the original run) Star Trek TNG/DSN/Voyager, Quantum Leap, and Get Smart, and sit coms like Family ties, Cosby Cheers, and Night Court ( I guess I watched a lot of tv in a 2 channel universe :)). I have just crossed into the undesirable demo as far as the ad guys go.

    So, what made Chuck different for me. Well it was the first show that I really got into that had “arcs”. The old shows were pretty well all stand alone episodes, and if was pretty clear that the characters were cast in stone. Jim Rockford was basically the same character at the end of the series as he was at the beginning, there were some changes surrounding Maxwell Smart, but he remained the same bumbling goof. The sit coms much like most of today’s, could be watched in any order because it just didn’t matter.

    I won’t claim that CHUCK was the first to work with arcs (I remember X-files and there were undoubtedly others), but for me, Chuck was the first show with an arc that I was really interested in. Perhaps it was nostalgia for my mispent youth, but the characters at their best spoke to me in a way that they managed to make seem real. Especially for the first two seasons, and then again in 4 and 5, I think they worked the relationship arcs really well. The villian arcs were somewhat variable. Roark in this arc was one of the best. Menacing and yet off the wall.

  6. Sam Carter says:

    @Olddarth: “And she became the lazy go to punching bag solution when the show needed to create tension rather than the show strive to create scenarios where Chuck and Sarah could work in tandem to resolve a problem.”

    It wasn’t lazy, IMO. I think Chuck development in the show was pretty much done by the end of season 3. Sarah’s not so much, that’s why the show explored her character more in seasons 4 and 5. I liked a lot of what they did with her development, especially in season 5. Chuck’s characterization was also better in S5 compared to S4, in which he was too whiny and insecure. There was less of that in S5.

    I know many here had problems with Sarah’s role in S3. I didn’t. I liked pretty much everything, but I’m not a huge Sarah fan or a C/S shipper like some, so I’m pretty sure that helped.

    • aerox says:

      I think the term punching bag is meant to be taken literal in this case. Her development often had her tied up somewhere, beaten, to create a sense of urgency in the show. My main issue was the decline of Casey and Sarah as Chuck progressed. These supposed super spies were often put in a situation where Chuck would come out as a hero, making the other two look idiotic in the process. This started with the Intersect 2.0. But, since the emotional ties with Casey were next to none for the viewers (even though I loved him in Season 5, the best character by a MILE) they could only really resort to Sarah. Ellie would’ve caused a sense of urgency in Chuck, and maybe the viewers, but that was a gamble. Sarah was a done deal really. So they used–and abused–the hell out of that plot point, to a point where at least I, and a few others I know, got sick and tired of it.

      • atcDave says:

        Certainly that was among the complaints with the finale story arc, we’d already seen Sarah brutalized several times in the last few episodes. I sure was getting old!

  7. authorguy says:

    I just watched vs. The Ring again, and I noticed this time something that passed me before, since I watched the DVDs at great speed to get ready for S3. Chuck asks Sarah to go away with him, and she refuses, yet no one seems to go on about that nearly as much as they go on about the reverse scene in Prague. Now I want to watch S3 again, see what a fresh perspective does to the interpretation.

    • atcDave says:

      That scene drew an awful lot of attention at the time of the original airing. I think it was really viewed as one of the key moments of the episode. In fact, we all saw its potential for causing problems going into S3. Ironically, Pink Slip itself pretty much ignored that moment and substituted its own miscommunication…

      • To my mind what she did to Chuck in the Ring was vastly worse than anything he did in Pink Slip. In Pink Slip she asks him to make a permanent and irrevocable choice to flee their duty, instead of a temporary training period. In the Ring, he asked for a possibly temporary time alone with potential for permanence, that they could both come back from. She blew that off, to go with Bryce, a man who had already destroyed his life twice, and she had to know what leaving him for Bryce would do to him. There’s no more guaranteed way to send him into a self-destruct spiral and leave him vulnerable to the Ring (and at that point he was the only known person who could survive an Intersect upload), than to crush his confidence like that, yet she did it.

      • thinkling says:

        Well, Marc, I don’t see it that way at all. She didn’t have an option. Like she told Chuck in First Date, an agent of the CIA doesn’t have an option. She was under orders, and it was clearly killing her to follow them. Of course later, she reversed her decision, which would have meant choosing Chuck over the CIA definitively.

        Besides that, your comparison and reasoning of the offers and rejections is the exact opposite of mine. All Chuck offered was a vacation. (Of course, we know he was in love with her, and so did she, but I kind of agree with Joe, that that wasn’t exactly the offer she might have expected. Not that she was prepared to accept it.) So, Sarah was supposed to disobey orders to go on vacation with Chuck … and then what? There was no clear path there. By contrast, he rejected the offer of her love and commitment for a real life together. Either way though, the interrupted dance and lack of clear communication from that point on makes me tear my hair out.

        My reaction after PS was, “Wow, couples just don’t come back from something like that.” And I’ll stop there, because I think from PS forward, the story was written to serve certain devices (cough, wt/wt) instead of the devices serving and enhancing the story.

      • authorguy says:

        After a year and a half of continuous undercover service she was due for a vacation anyway (and she would have been completely justified in claiming some), not an immediate reassignment, yet another case of Beckman doing stupid things to move the plot along. Maybe she couldn’t have pointed out the problems to Beckman without expposing her own compromised position but she should have been aware of them herself and moved Heaven and Earth to avoid the assignment. Nor was she offering him a life together anyway at Prague, just a few years running together until they got caught and thrown into separate holes.
        I actually swung around to the ‘Sarah abandoned him first’ camp while I was writing Morgan’s rant in my story Not This Time. This just sort of reinforces it to me.

  8. oldresorter says:

    OK, everyone who has defended Fedak and hated on me for trashing him so much, here it is, something nice, with no strings attacked. The ‘do you love me’ scene, followed by’ Paris’, just kicked the ever living crap out of Castle’s inexplicably odd, ringing of the bell, it’s time to have sex moment last night.

    One comment relevant to Joe’s fine work on the end of season 2, the show missed Orion’s contribution to the drama. Once Stephen was revealed, the character who blew people up with drones, mysteriously contacted chuck with clues how everything fit together, sometimes hated on Chuck’s CIA contacts and appeared to be a bad guy, or the only good guy, anyhow, that role was missed.

    • jam says:

      Hey, no spoiling episodes of other shows that aired under 12 hours ago, please.

    • hahaha. Part of me still thinks Castle and Beckett are going to get interrupted by Martha.

      All they needed was a near death experience. Wait. They’ve had about 20 of those, including several this season. Hmmm. The show hasn’t been picked up yet. (No ABC show has, but Castle isn’t considered to be at risk.). Maybe they just needed a point where there was no guarantee of further episodes. That always worked for Chuck.

      “In terms of storytelling, we felt like we were dangerously close to trying the audience’s patience – and we were starting to get impatient ourselves. We want to move on to new territory,” series creator Andrew W. Marlowe tells TVLine. “We feel like we wrung everything out of them not being in a relationship, so it’s time to put them in a relationship and in more, different fun.”
      So storytelling is about trying patience and wringing.

      “But I think it’s going to be fun tough – like when Sam and Diane got together on Cheers.”
      Sam and Diane didn’t stay together. That doesn’t sound good. The Sam/Diane break-ups weren’t pretty.

      I often sound like a Fedak defender, but I am well aware he’s not the best story teller is the universe. I don’t like it when the attacks become personal. Why say anything you wouldn’t say to the person’s face? Give Fedak and Schwartz some credit for the concept. In general, I think show runners get too much credit and fault for TV shows. Even the strongest show runners are influenced by the actors, writers, and directors. (Actors sometimes get too much credit too.) Finally, I think Chuck’s PTB at least intended to do better service to the show’s fans than most shows do. While many might think they failed, falling into the trappings of modern WT/WT storytelling, they worked through it faster than most shows. For some reason, the fans did not accept them.

      Contrast that to Marlowe, who recently won an online showrunner bracket contest. Marlowe regularly blatantly misleads (some might say lies) in interviews. Secrets were going to be revealed midseason. The secret reveals were only done half-way. Beckett never actually admitted she heard Castle. and Castle never revealed the murder board. Castle’s dad was supposed to be featured in a episode, not just mentioned in a way that makes no sense. Now that is next season.

      Fedak and company created a better story. Marlowe does better PR.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        “In terms of storytelling, we felt like we were dangerously close to trying the audience’s patience – and we were starting to get impatient ourselves. We want to move on to new territory,” series creator Andrew W. Marlowe tells TVLine. “We feel like we wrung everything out of them not being in a relationship, so it’s time to put them in a relationship and in more, different fun.”

        So storytelling is about trying patience and wringing.

        In some ways it’s a no-win for show runners. I recall that Fedak said something similar, about not putting Chuck & Sarah together till he’d exhausted the dramatic possibilities, and taking a lot of criticism for that. Then in later seasons, and with the Mauser moment his sin was apparently not fully exploring any turn of events that had potential to be expanded upon into a major dramatic arc. With Chuck especially there was only so much that could fit into each episode.

      • ArmySFC says:

        @jeff, you said this, “Beckett never actually admitted she heard Castle.” i think that is open to interpretation depending on what you take from this line from the un-dead again episode. “i’m finally ready to accept everything that happened that day, (slight pause) everything.” to me at least, it’s her telling him she knows what he said.

        @ernie, i agree about the show runners being in a tough spot with wt/wt. thinkling said it best a while ago, from the time we are little and get fairy tales told or shown to us, the common thread is when will the prince/princess get together with the one they love? it’s been a part of story telling for so long that, i feel, they don’t know how to write stories any other way or don’t feel audiences will accept a love story with out all the drama.

      • Army, you’re right that it was very heavily implied. I didn’t realize it wasn’t actually said until a while later. I thought what Beckett did was sufficient, but Castle still brought it up as an argument point and she just got mad about him bringing it up. It’s like when Sarah told Chuck she loved him in Other Guy, but didn’t say ‘I love you’ for three more episodes. I didn’t think it was an important distinction, but Chuck and Castle did. Castle probably doesn’t care now, though. He’s a little preoccupied.

      • ArmySFC says:

        @jeff, ya think? while i rarely compare shows or show runners, i think both shows did a good job on how they wrapped the wt/wt angles up, in that they fit the type of show they are/were.

      • BigKev67 says:

        I enjoyed the Castle season finale a lot but (without spoiling) I completely agree with Jason’s sentiment.
        Having loved Chuck and become a (much less rabid) fan of Castle, the parallels are striking and I’ve come to the same conclusion about both shows. I love the characters dearly but the string pulling in the storytelling and the progression of the relationships is just too obvious. The specific reasons may be different but the formula is the same. Both sides in the relationship will have an ex to be brought back. Then both will have an OLI. There will be secrets and some sort of break up. There will be multiple misunderstandings and interruptions, and the couple will somehow manage not to have a frank, uninterrupted conversation for 3 or 4 years.
        Don’t get me wrong – it’s still great entertainment but it does seem to be remarkably “by the numbers” in
        terms of how the story is told. In both cases I’ve found myself feeling like I know every twist in the road before it comes – and that detracts from my enjoyment, and it’s meant that I’m less invested in the couple concerned the longer the saga is dragged out.
        I know it’s what the industry does and it’s a formula that works. Your average TV viewer must have more patience than me! 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Good description of the formula, Big Kev. I just don’t find it to be great entertainment for as long as the show runners think it is. The greatness usually wanes into tedium. Castle has passed that point for me. I still watch, but with diminishing enthusiasm. I haven’t watched the Castle finale yet, but the wt/wt has passed its shelf life. I hope they’ll take a page out of Chuck’s play book and move the characters in a new direction.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Think,
        I can still watch as long as there’s enough in the show outside of “the relationship” to keep me interested. I enjoyed enough of the other things in S3 Chuck for example to keep me invested even when the relationship was at its most tortured but I confess I’ve watched a lot of this season of Castle on autopilot.
        Like you, I hope they’re gutsy enough to do something different – and as OD says in his post below I’d like to see them make Kate’s resignation stick.

      • thinkling says:

        Oh yeah, OD’s suggestion about a detective agency sounds fun. But I bet a couple of coffees that they don’t make the resignation stick. It creates a lot of problems of what to do with the rest of the cast. And it is a risk, although with the two of them, I could totally see the detective agency work. I still don’t see the show runners keeping her off the force. I’m looking forward to the finale tonight, 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Some great discussion here guys!

        Some apologies to jam, but I don’t believe we can ever promise a spoiler free site. It reminds me of several years ago when the S2 finale of Burn Notice was on, I was expecting to watch the episode later that night. I was on the Chuck boards at NBC at the time, and someone just randomly posted “OMG, I can’t believe Fiona just shot [Trisha Helfer]”. That had me pulling my hair out…

        Anyway, I really liked Kev’s comments about the “formula”, and no surprise my take on things closely aligns with Thinkling’s. It is sadly common that wt/wt plays out a while too long on most shows. It becomes a big deal when it’s handled in a way that damages or lowers the featured characters. To some extent, both Chuck and Castle did this the same sort of wrong. I think I was able to continue enjoying Castle more than Chuck during the prolonged “won’t they” stage purely because I was less invested in those characters. I like Castle and Beckett, but I never strongly identified with either of them; and the show itself did a better job of following its proven formula (except for the Adam Baldwin episode!) even during the prolonged wt/wt phase.
        Now I really hope Marlowe proves as capable of writing a couple in a relationship as he was in the teasing period. This will be a real test for him. We may find out just how unique Chuck was. And that may help many of us (like me!) think even more highly of Fedak.

      • aerox says:

        Kev, I pretty much sounded the entire Caskett conversation in Castle’s loft out in my head and I got an 85%* accuracy rate on the dialogue from the moment the phone rang. It’s predictable, because it’s been done so much. But it’s still fun to watch, which is a testament to the quality of the show. And maybe it’s just what we all want to see anyway 😀

        *totally random number, but close enough.

      • atcDave says:

        Aerox you know random statistics 80% likely to be more accurate and 64% more fun than the legitimate sort…

      • oldresorter says:

        This was not my first reaction, but was as result of reading everyone’s opinion. Castle was an example of my own expectations clouding my perception. I am pretty sure I was looking for Paris last night, I think what I got was closer to Barstow. Which is fine, last night does leave the writers with lots of room to wiggle, doesn’t it? Let’s hope the formula doesn’t call for an ex to get Beckett to agree to leave in the next ep, then a new LI partner shows up for a half dozen eps or so, who neither likes her, nor does she like, but still he manages to convince her to move away with him, for sake of some job, and because Beckett is mad at Chuck, I mean Rick.

      • joe says:

        Dave, what I heard was that 83.6% of the statistics you see on the ‘net are made up on the spot. 😉

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        “Kate Beckett, I’d like you to meet Daniel Shaw, expert.”

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I’m 96% sure you’re completely correct!

        Shep you are an evil man!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I often sound like a Fedak defender, but I am well aware he’s not the best story teller in the universe. I don’t like it when the attacks become personal. Why say anything you wouldn’t say to the person’s face?

      Ditto. You can criticize his work without questioning his character or motives.

      • oldresorter says:

        Funny, I say something nice and Ernie and Jeff use it as an opportunity to blast me? Interesting?

      • I wasn’t directing my comments at you personally, oldresorter. It was a very nice thing for you to say. I also thought the ‘ring the bell’ comment was very funny. It makes me wish Beckett rang a doorbell instead of knocking.

        My comments were more about my own views and were definitely not directed at someone who still has seen the light. I was ready to say something because the ‘Cult of Marlowe’ is sometimes really annoying. I like Castle a lot, but the 11.9 episodes of the ‘misery arc’ in Chuck S3.0 were so much better than the 47 episodes of stalling in Castle–at least for me.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, I also wasn’t directing my remarks at you specifically, but I suppose I was in a limited sense replying to the notion that you were “hated on” for trashing Fedak. I have consistently politely asked anyone who has crossed the line from criticizing the product to criticizing the man making it to please moderate their language and respect our request for common courtesy. Sorry if you feel that constituted an attack on you personally. It was in no way intended to be anything other than an a-men to Jeff’s statement and a reminder that there is a difference between criticizing the product and the man’s character.

    • joe says:

      Oldresorter, you’re right about Orion. He is missed. I’ve been seeing Scott Bakula on (the series concluding episodes of ) Desperate Housewives, and noting how completely different the character is from Orion (and moreso from Stephen) and how both differ from Sam in Quantum Leap. He’s an amazing actor.

      As for last night’s Castle, I’m a little surprised to see I’m not the only one who felt weird about it. I won’t criticize, especially on one viewing. But what’s odd is that I’m not sure I can put my finger on why I had the reaction I did. Kate’s turnaround did seem awfully quick, but it really wasn’t. She’s been moving in that direction for three or four weeks now.

      • BigKev67 says:

        It wasn’t quite the same but there was a whiff of First Date when Beckett got plucked off the ledge. That would have been the moment for Slaughter to reappear and go ” keep it in your pants Castle…..”

      • joe says:

        Heh! I can see it! Spot on, Kev!

      • *spoiler*
        Kev, that comparison was part of my problem with the scene. The special effect was obvious, and I was unfortunately comparing it with a scene that won an Emmy for stunts. Now I’m wishing for a doorbell and that it was Slaughter who was there instead of Ryan. The biggest problem with Castle S3 and S4 finales is the humor goes MIA. Doorbells and Casey, I mean Slaughter, would have helped.

        Joe, objectively Kate’s turnaround was understandable after a near death experience. The problem is that it has happened so often it didn’t seem that big of deal. The key difference was Castle wasn’t there this time.

      • joe says:

        Hum…

        I just had a thought about Castle vis-a-vie Chuck. Did Rick seem a little passive to you last night? Kate, aggressive? Chuck was portrayed as a character who avoided danger and confrontation; it took a while to understand that he was also brave and willing to fight when he had to (but only his way, which is even harder). Rick is just the opposite. He’s willing to follow Kate into a gunfight, but I can’t recall seeing him fight for their relationship (but I confess, I’m a relatively new viewer and may have missed it).

      • Even more extreme than Chuck’s family situation, Castle never knew his father. Castle has two divorces (one cheated on him) and a long string of meaningless playboy relationships in his past. It’s one of their obstacles. Castle is more likely to give up and is gun shy about anything serious or complicated. Beckett knows this, so she is less likely to take him seriously. Sticking around is considered an accomplishment for Castle and growth in his character.

        I haven’t received my notification yet. Amazon says it is “Shipping Soon”, even though I ordered on January 1. 😦

      • BigKev67 says:

        Jeff,
        Oh yeah, the scene on the ledge was definitely an eye-roller and your point about Castle finales losing the humour is well made. I usually like the higher stakes episodes but both Castle and Chuck are overly guilty of loading all of that into the very end of the season, so the transition in tone from what’s gone before is always jarring.

    • olddarth says:

      The Castle finale was very well done. The show has its faults to be sure but they have done a far better job of being true to the characters than Chuck.

      If Marlowe is sincere about mixing things up, a Beckett and Castle Detective Agency would be wonderful.

      Castle’s confession scene to Beckett was very well done by Fillion. This show rarely lets him flex his dramatic muscles but he nailed that scene for me.

      This is easily the most interested I have been in seeing where the show goes next season. Just hoping there is no rebuilding the Buy More scenarios 3 or 4 episodes in.

      Make Beckett’s resignation permanent!

      • oldresorter says:

        OD – that never dawned on me, make the resignation permanent. I would like that show. I think. My fear would be some wise cracking blogger would start calling my show Moonlighting 2. If Beckett & Castle formed an agency, who would be the boss? Castle? Beckett? Someone else? No body? They’d be taking the moonlighting curse on with full force, wouldn’t they?

      • In one of her early series, one of my favorite Castle fanfic writers, chezchuckles, has Beckett brought in front of an inquiry board and then is forced out/quits the NYPD. She ends up joining the FBI. (One and Done?, If At First, Try Again, Federal Heat).

        I like the detective agency angle. However I think most shows wouldn’t do that until there was no renewal risk (e.g. Carmichael Industries with a pre-cancelled S5). Chuck’s first resignation only lasted one episode. Chuck and Sarah’s train honeymoon only lasted one episode. I still wish that was a several episode series, with an under the radar mission at each stop.

      • ArmySFC says:

        @OD one thing i appreciate about castle is they aren’t afraid to mix real life issues with the comedy they use. Beckett’s seeking help after she was shot, her trying to get her mind back on track was very well done i think. most shows just have a person get shot almost die then act like nothing happened.

        i also like the detective agency bit. it could be a lot of fun. castle has more money than he can use, he would fit right in, lol.

      • olddarth says:

        They surprised me with the finale. I had expected Castle and Beckett to bare their feelings first, then have Beckett find out about the secret Castle kept, and then have them split over the off season.

        What happened in the finale was much better.

        Yes as far as the Detective Agency goes, money is no problem. Make Espo part of the agency and keep Ryan on the force so they have an insider with the police department.

        Will they do it?

        Would be great to be surprised again.

      • thinkling says:

        That would work great OD. And of course they would still use Laney

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Finally watched the Castle finale. Meh. No problems with the characters actions, Castle being fed up and pulling back was established and believable, Beckett suddenly seeing Castle as something she could lose, or miss her chance at, also set up and believable, but they’ll screw it up, somehow, and I’m kind of past caring. Not entirely sure why, but I am.

  9. joe says:

    And on a completely unrelated note, I just got my notification from Amazon that S5 is on it’s way. YEAH!

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