Chuck vs The Nemesis (1.10)

On to the third episode of the season one arc.  We finally get to meet Bryce and get some answers, maybe.  And Chuck and Sarah remain in an uncomfortable place.  This episode certainly cranks up both drama and comedy, and leaves us all ready to shout Pineapple!  This weeks discussion, after the jump.

Believe it or not, I like this episode much better than the previous two. at least now I do.  It still ends up on my “weak” list, but just barely.  And unlike the two before, this episode has gotten much better in retrospect for me.  I still rank it as “weak” mainly on the grounds that I just don’t enjoy all the tension hanging in the air, frankly it bores me.  I’ve always been more of a comedy and adventure sort, fortunately Nemisis is loaded with those too!  And this episode is so important for the greater mythology of Chuck; this is where we first hear of Fulcrum and have Tommy as the main villain (after a brief intro to him the episode before).  Somehow Nemesis seems to be very representative of season one.

A happy family thanksgiving…

At the risk of being redundant, Yvonne’s performance is brilliant, again. This is often the one outstanding feature of drama on Chuck.  Although I think Zach also does a more than credible job with Chuck’s uncertainty and insecurity.  But its Sarah’s dilemma at the very end that really stands out.  I do like the multiple layers of it; Chuck and Bryce are the human faces of a duty versus adventure quandary. We may suspect that Sarah cares about Chuck more on a personal level, but that personal affection could be (and in time will be) her professional undoing.  Could S1 Sarah have been convinced that in time she will welcome the change in values and circumstance Chuck will bring about? Not easily!  This end almost makes the tension leading up to it worthwhile.

Where Nemesis really excels for me is comedy and action.   The awkward Thanksgiving dinner makes me laugh every time; from Morgan’s obsessive food quirks, to Chuck’s oddly specific thanks, to Anna being Anna.  And I think the Buy More antics are all wonderful here.

Which leads to my favorite scene of the entire S1 arc.  The Buy More Black Friday sequence is brilliant.  Very funny up through the evacuation, especially Morgan carrying Anna to safety; and Sarah and Bryce clearing the room of baddies.  This is the moment that has most grown in retrospect for me.

They really are great together!

Chuck watches in awe and says “they really are great together”.  In a little over two years he and Sarah will be better.  That may be getting ahead of things here, but taking in the big picture here is wonderful.

I’m sure others will have far more to say than I.  This episode doesn’t quite rise the level of one I will sit down to watch outside of a full re-watch.

An easy decision to make

But I think it is the highlight of this arc, and I find it much easier to enjoy than the others.

~ Dave

Qach So’wIj wep? HIja’ ghobe’.

Joe here. And I’ve decided to write my review in Klingonese. No – wait. I’m not that much of a geek. Besides. Klingonese may be great for expressing rage, lust, displeasure and exhilaration, but it can’t come close to describing the complexity of emotions going on here.

Complex indeed. What you’re calling tension, Dave, I think of as confusion.

The only place to begin is the end of the previous episode, Imported Hard Salami, with “The Kiss” (reg. US Pat. Off.) and the bomb that didn’t explode and Bryce. How did that make you feel? Better question: How did that make Sarah feel? Confused, do you think? To say it’s complicated barely describes it.

If Sarah’s confused, Chuck doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on; that’s typical Bartowski. At the very moment he’s semi-frantically trying to get Sarah on the phone in a futile attempt to understand what she’s thinking, she’s watching Bryce behind a one-way mirror. To make matters – uh – more confusing, Bryce is asking for – drum roll, please – Chuck. Not her, not Casey, but Chuck.

[Note to self: Even when he’s clueless, Bartowski is at the center of things.] It’s clear Sarah doesn’t know what’s going on either.

How about Bryce? Well, he’s foggy after waking up and he isn’t even willing to assume it’s Chuck who’s facing him until Chuck proves his identity. Even then he seems paranoid, if not confused. Bryce even takes Chuck hostage until my favorite Fulcrum agent, Tommy, shows up. Frankly, his paranoia seems like a good idea at that moment.

Ouch. Now my feelings are hurt.

Dave, you’re right about humor in this episode. The Buy More denizens preparing for “Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving – the timing is perfect and the set-up is integral for what’s about to happen. And that is, of course, the major fight between…

Anna and her Nemesis, Ellie. Heh! That’s typical of this episode. Even before we get to Jeff declaring a “Pineapple Situation”, we see so much confusion about people’s motives that I’m losing track!

Forget Sarah for the moment. What motive could Bryce possibly have for his actions? Bryce doesn’t understand why Chuck decided to live with his sister instead of becoming a software billionaire, Bill Gates style. Why would he do that???

Ellie is confused about Anna. Sarah is unsure Bryce isn’t a rogue spy. Bryce doesn’t ask but tells Sarah she’s still in love with him – Is he right? Sarah’s not sure! Chuck sees them kissing (oh boy!) and Casey kills/doesn’t kill Bryce – again! Pineapple!

It’s frenetic, frantic fun. And the things I just described are not the most important issues at all. Really. By the time the episode is over, we’ve been lead a long ways down the path where the only thing we care about is Sarah and her feelings towards Chuck. You can add us, the viewers to the list of people who don’t really know the full story.

What a mess. Mystery on top of intrigue on top of passion. Sarah has tried from the start to keep her feelings under wraps. Since the day she met Chuck, Sarah’s worked hard to build this edifice, this life, where she can protect Chuck without the complications and dangers that come with caring. Now, because of one kiss, the whole thing is about to come tumbling down. Bryce’s presence only serves to remind her that she may have to leave at a moment’s notice, just like he did.

The one thing Chuck knows for certain at this point is that Bryce and Sarah make a great team.

That Klingon phase spoken by Bryce in the Buy More, the one I quoted above, translates “Are you wearing a cloaking device-coat? Yes or no.” (yeah, there’s an app for that!) Not a bad way to find out if Chuck is wearing a bullet-proof vest. Another possible translation could be “Is your heart (core) shielded? Yes or no.” How apt.

And anything to make you smile
It is my better side of you to admire
But they should never take so long
Just to be over then back to another one

I once thought that the marvelous song at the end of the episode, “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Band of Horses, was meant to proxy Chuck singing to Sarah. But like the episode, it’s more complex than that. The very first lines are:

It’s looking like a limb torn off
Or altogether just taken apart
We’re reeling through an endless fall
We are the ever-living ghost of what once was

And no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one’s gonna love you more than I do

That makes me think this is much Bryce’s theme. Throughout, Sarah can’t or won’t say it, but everything here is painful for her. You’re right again about Yvonne’s acting here, Dave. We only see the pain in Sarah’s eyes. This wonderful, enjoyable, Pineapple romp and adventure comes down to a fork in the road where Sarah will soon have to make the decision she does not want to make and can’t face.

But someone,
They could have warned you
When things start splitting at the seams and now
The whole thing’s tumbling down
Things start splitting at the seams and now
If things start splitting at the seams and now,
It’s tumbling down
Hard.

More than for Chuck, things are falling apart for Sarah, making the haunting lyrics very much hers, too.

Two phone calls, Chuck on one, Bryce on the other. The ever-living ghost of what once was and an uncertain here and now. Which will she answer? We don’t know and I’m not sure even Sarah does.

– joe

Advertisements

About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 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.
This entry was posted in Season 1. Bookmark the permalink.

216 Responses to Chuck vs The Nemesis (1.10)

  1. I’ve always had bad memories of this arc. The awkwardness of Chuck’s love triangles always rub me the wrong way, and I dusted Nemesis off again with a little bit of dread. Boy, was I wrong. Nemesis is fantastic. Chuck at its (and his) best.

    One of my favorite themes of the show is that Chuck’s successes almost never come from the intersect, or from any traditional spy training. Chuck’s superpower (the Intersect) puts him in the situation where he can use his own intuition, courage and righteousness to save the day. Think the Pilot, where the intersect shows him the way to the bomb, but he has to choose to run in and he has to deduce the solution. That element of Chuck is what separates it from so many other hero journeys: A hero like Spiderman has to grow into his power, he has to merge with it to best utilize it. Chuck treats the Intersect like a cocoon – it’s only when he transcends his power that he acheives success.

    It’s his core values and the people around him that give Chuck his real strength, not the power he’s been given. That’s the core of Bryce’s function in Nemesis: Bryce exists to define what makes Chuck different from a regular spy, for both good and bad.
    He does it in a way Sarah and Casey can’t. They’re both very different people with different backgrounds. But Bryce is Bizarro Chuck. They came into Stanford with the same likes, interests and (I assume) similar backgrounds. But Bryce was recruited by the CIA. He graduated and went on to have a glorious spy life. He was prepared for the intersect. He was trained. He actually dated Sarah. And he is utterly alone in the world.

    These things create the differences in the two men, and drives them in different directions. When we compare the two at first, Bryce seems the naturally more successful of the two. But as the episode goes on, we’re forced to go deeper. Bryce is on the run, and he has no idea who his friends are or who he can trust. Sarah thinks he’s a traitor, and he’s ruined Chuck’s life. He’s been shot and captured, and he has to break free, but he has nowhere to run. He can’t trust the CIA, and by the end of the episode, the only person he thought he could trust, Sarah, decides against re-joining him. For all his success, he has absolutely nothing, except for one friend, who also feels used and betrayed.

    Chuck has two people he’s beginning to trust implicitly protecting him. His sister has carried him throught the worst years of his life. His best friend looks up to him and supports him unconditionally. His relationship with Sarah might be fake, but she’s begun to show real feelings for him. These people, in different ways, have saved his life. Just look at Morgan’s reaction to “Pineapple.” Chuck said it, and Morgan doesn’t even ask questions. He acts immediately. Bryce doesn’t have one person in the world who would trust him that way.

    And that’s the source of Chuck’s strength – the people around him. Chuck isn’t the lone wolf that Bryce is, and he’s stronger and safer for it. By the end of the show, he becomes more accomplished because of those connections. Later, we see Chuck start to fall down the same path in Season 3, but for now, we see the difference it makes. Ultimately, it’s not Bryce’s paranoia that saves him. Sarah helps him in the car. Chuck helps verify the CIA. And Morgan pulls the fire alarm, allowing Bryce and Sarah to sneak in.

    Chuck draws his strength from the people around him, and this episode does a really elegant job of showing and stating that theme. Bryce says, “I’ve got one friend in this world. You’ve got a home and a store full of them. Thanks Chuck.” It’s a character who’s diverged from the theme of the show recognizing his own folly in doing so. It’s a really effective way of displaying the negative to prove the positive.

    Another great aspect of this episode is how solid the B plot is. The Buy More characters shine in this episode. Anna does a great job ruining Thanksgiving, and Jeff and Morgan have great roles in the Buy More. Even Big Mike, with his super-loud butt thump on the register, has one fo the show’s better moments.

    It’s one of the few Chuck episodes that’s strong for every single minute, and it strikes a great balance between its disperate elements, while being as deeply thematic as any episode in the series.

    • One other cool juxtaposition: Bryce is coming to Chuck for rescue here. For all that Bryce is portrayed as the superior, competent spy, Chuck is saving him. And it really has nothing to do with the intersect. It’s because in our worst moments, there’s simply nothing more valuable than a community of people you can trust.

      That theme is one of the three or so major reasons I like this so much. It’s one of the things Chuck handles with real grace.

      • joe says:

        You know, before the character leaves us, I develop some real sympathy for Bryce. He’s supposed to be a real “alpha” type, always a winner. He ends up losing everything.

      • anthropocene says:

        Bryce the burned-out prodigy versus Chuck the late bloomer…with Sarah somewhere in the middle of that continuum perhaps?

    • joe says:

      Hear hear. Well said, Arthur. I’m so glad to see you use this space to express how you experienced the episode.

      And speaking of reactions… the reactions to those Love Triangles (we gotta get Chuck’s picture into the dictionary under PLI, somehow!) is interesting. You avoided (is that the right word?) Nemesis because of that ennui, I’m pretty sure that Dave is allergic to such things, others downright hated them (“Get Chuck & Sarah together already! Will ya??!!”). Well, I must be a masochist or something. They deflated and bothered me, but always seemed the most necessary and even realistic aspect of Chuck’s love life. I just can’t see the show affecting me nearly as much without that tension and confusion caused by the ensemble of petite brunettes and James Bond clones.

      Not really. It’s more like I always had some confidence that after being distracted for a moment, Chuck would look at Sarah and Sarah would look at Chuck, say “What the heck am I thinking?” and get back on track. It was hard to believe and a lot to hope for when we had Olympics, holidays, writers’ strikes, presidential speeches and months long breaks between seasons. But seeing the episodes in rapid succession, at my own pace, makes those PLIs seem much more fleeting.

      • aerox says:

        To be fair, for someone who was supposed to be an awkward nerd, Chuck sure handled his business with women surprisingly well. Lou, Jill and Hannah could by no definition of the word be seen as ‘unattractive’.

      • jam says:

        And the pilot even had another girl for Chuck to pine after, wisely she was dropped out of the aired episode.

      • jam says:

        I guess I should add to say that I never saw Chuck as an awkward nerd. He was nerdy, sure, but always likeable and charming. Jill and Lou were definitely not out of his class, and I don’t think the show even tried to present them as being such.

      • joe says:

        Yeah – the character’s name escapes me for the moment, but she was supposed to be “the anti-Sarah.” I think Lou, Jill and Hannah filled that role nicely.

        I can sorta see how Chuck doesn’t always come across as awkward, especially after Charles Carmichael establishes his persona. Chuck always has at least one brief moment of charm (or class) in every episode.

        But the very first look we get is him avoiding the women at his own party. It’s not the kind of awkwardness I ever had, but he does manage to drive them away fairly quickly. And then you have the girlish screams. Chuck is definitely not in his element when he’s on a mission, at least, he isn’t until Sarah calms him down.

        She may bring out the worst in him, but she also brings out the best.

  2. My personal fav of Season 1. Bryce brings out the best and worst in Chuck and Sarah. And that makes for engrossing and entertaining TV.

    So many highlight moments – the Sarah/Bryce fight, Sarah’s reaction to Chuck being shot, Sarah so conflicted looking at Chuck and Bryce in the BuyMore, and Sarah conflicted back at her apartment with Bryce calling via the older phone – the comforting past? – and Chuck calling her on her cell phone – the uncertain future?

    I love, love, love the tension throughout this episode. It pushes the characters out of their comfort zones and pulls me in as a viewer watching them wrestle with good, dramatic obstacles plus set up some great organic moments of levity instead of contrived ones.

    • Bill says:

      Well put OD. A great episode for the reasons you’ve stated.

    • joe says:

      Great observation, Lou. We just heard C&S say that they bring the worst out of each other in the previous episode, but Bryce does it to both of them. It’s like, he’s not Chuck’s nemesis so much as he’s the force raging unknowingly against Chuck & Sarah’s relationship.

      That tension you mention is palpable. For my money, it comes to a head next, in Crown Vic when Chuck & Sarah confront each other about “The Kiss” in his room. “It was a mistake!” – “Was I just a convenient set of lips, or was it about me?!”

    • uplink2 says:

      I’ll write something more about this episode later but I had to say how much I loved your take on the symbolic nature of the two different phones used in the hotel room scene. I really like that thought and seeing I think at this point in the series, unlike later on when I think much of the thoughts about symbolism are more our projection to try and make sense of the mess on screen than real, it was actually their intent as well.

      • joe says:

        Ah, it’s an old phone, but it’s stylish! 😉

      • Just like Bryce.

        And the iPhone is so nerdy. Just like Chuck.

        The great thing about this episode is that everything feels natural and honest. The laughs, the tension, the conflict between the characters and their nemeses, and even the BuyMorians.

        And shows that Chuck was capable of juggling all these elements adroitly.

        There are good uses of these elements and bad ones.

        This episode is full of win.

    • resaw says:

      I agree as well. Great S. 1 episode, perhaps the best so far, IMO. All the disparate elements that make up Chuck were working in this ep. My personal favorite conflicted Sarah moment was following the fight when Sarah looks back and forth at Bryce and Chuck and walks away without saying a word.

      • You guys like this better than the pilot?

      • uplink2 says:

        Not me. I’d say its probably top 4-5 from season 1 though. The Pilot, Truth, Wookie and maybe Marlin are better for me. But again there really isn’t a bad season 1 episode.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I do agree with saying there really isn’t a bad S1 episode. But my favorites are the Pilot and Tango. The arc episodes bring up the rear.

      • interesting. Season 1 is pretty easily my least favorite season. I’d say Crown Vic is a terrible episode.

      • jam says:

        Unlike with seasons 3-5, there are no truly bad S1 (or S2) episodes, The Pilot, Truth and Marlin are probably my top 3 of the first season. This was an average episode for me, which is fine by S1 standards.

      • thinkling says:

        That is definitely one of my favorite moments, Resaw: Sarah’s look when Chuck is shot, her looking back and forth between Bryce and Chuck … and Bryce’s smug look until he sees Sarah’s indecision.

        Sarah you’re still in love with me … or maybe not?!?

      • ref51907 says:

        Right on, Thinkling…or maybe not. Her words words, though brief to him said a lot. I thought you were dead Bryce. And I didn’t catch this the first time around, but Bryce said, You’re still in love me. He didn’t say I’m in love with you. As far as we know, the only man to ever say “I love you” to Sarah was Chuck. Her dad didn’t, we don’t know if Bryce ever did, and Shaw didn’t. I think however that it is safe to assume after Marlin he did. First Date was the first time he was interrupted when trying to say it. That would add another layer to American Hero when he finally tells her and help explain her body language in Castle when he does tell her. Just personal thought here, she waited so long to someone to say it, actually say it her that she couldn’t find her resistance to him anymore.

      • thinkling says:

        Good point, Ref. Having finally gotten the mom back story, I’m pretty sure her mom said I love you … probably a lot. I’m thinking her dad did. I cant remember, if he did, his actions didn’t back up his words.You’re absolutely right about Bryce and Shaw, though. They didn’t. Her dad loved her but mostly used her. Graham and Shaw just used her. Chuck just loved her. Definitely something she wasn’t used to.

      • joe says:

        Ref, Thinkling Sarah had plenty guys saying those three words. I mean, there was Lester and Scooter and Fernando and Skip and… we just don’t know who spoke up!

        Plenty of nerds for her to choose from! 😉

      • Robert says:

        Yeah, but only Chuck proved it to Sarah with actions…

  3. Faith says:

    It’s not hard to see the possibilities of Chuck and Sarah–the progress, the promise and the roadblocks within just this one episode. But I have to tell you—the side of me that likes romantic angst, aside—this episode stood strong on the villain aspect. It’s often where future villains failed–menacing without being a caricature, contemptuous but not I’m-going-to-do-a-jig-on-his-corpse-then-I’ll-burn-his-body-to-ashes-and-feed-it-to-wolves distaste. All in all, a good contrast to the romantic triangle and romantic (and internal) conflict that encapsulates the arc.

    Specifically, it was amazing to see the conflict within Sarah. Not just the end scene itself but throughout. Later on she will tell us herself that she’s different without Chuck, well in this one she showsus she’s different with him as well. Some would say better, Bryce would say worse. I say utterly and completely enthralling. I couldn’t wait on what would be next and I still feel like that today.

    P.S. Happy birthday “Chuck,” or rather happy 5th anniversary!

    • Mmm. That five year plan worked out pretty well, didn’t it. He chose a damn good font.

    • joe says:

      That’s a great way to put it, Faith – the conflict with Sarah.

      It’s like hot lava. For me, the pressure in Sarah is still building and the conflict is still almost completely internal and contained. I love the scenes where her internal arguments sort of leak out and get all over Chuck, like they do in the next episode.

      Heh. Maybe that’s why Chuck can later tell Sarah that she’s not as good a liar as she thinks. He’s felt that heat enough to know what’s up.

  4. anthropocene says:

    Anybody else watch the season opener for “Hawaii Five-0” tonight? Hero’s long-lost mom turns out to be spy under deep cover. Hmm.

  5. uplink2 says:

    One of the things I find most interesting in this episode and it kind of flies in the face of the earlier Bryce was trying to protect Chuck attempt at redeeming or at least expanding the Bryce character is that we learn Chuck’s supposed best friend, the one who betrays him to protect him, made no effort whatsoever to check up on Chuck in the five years since he betrayed him and their friendship.. He was a spy and could have very easily found out if Chuck rebounded from his expulsion. To me at least it removes any or at least most of the credibility of the protection story. It shows a complete lack of concern for the consequences of his actions and it brings into question whether Chuck mattered to him at all. It exposes a real flaw in Bryce we see again many times, his self importance and the insignificance of anyone else. His actions throughout most of this episode expand on that. His blatant disregard for the consequences of making Sarah defy her orders, leave with him based solely on his mission of course being the only one that matters in his own mind without any input from anyone including his bosses. His belief that all he had to do was as pointed out earlier ‘tell’ Sarah she was still in love with him and she would immediately follow him like a lovesick puppy dog.

    I think Bryce showed a great deal of disrespect for everyone from, Chuck to Sarah to Casey to Beckman and Graham in this episode. It shows how he lives in a world where all that really matters is Bryce Larkin and that I think takes away most of the sincerity from what we were told just three episodes earlier. Now of course people change in five years in the spy life but we would learn later that your inner core of who you truly are doesn’t. We were shown that with Chuck, Sarah and Casey for that matter. Outwardly they changed but internally those things were always there at their core and shown through quite clearly in those three as we got to know them better. So for me the lesson is that Bryce was always at his core self-centered, not concerned for the consequences of his actions and with a real belief that he had the right to do whatever he chooses for his needs and desires. True that is what made him a great spy in many ways but to me it nullifies what they tried to tell me earlier that he was willing to sacrifice his friendship to protect Chuck. If your ever present story is how each person’s core deals with the pressure the spy life brings upon you, why would it be different for Bryce? What we see here is someone was not at all concerned about protecting Chuck the person but Chuck the Intersect and even then taking Sarah away threatens Chuck’s safety and his freedom. But Bryce never acknowledges that. Sarah knows what the consequences could be for Chuck if she left and that matters to her unlike Bryce. That is the essence of the song quoted above in reference to Sarah. No one is gonna love you or protect you more than I do.

    But I think we see in Sarah much of that internal conflict as she now sees first hand how different these two men in her life are. From our and I bet her POV how much better a person Chuck is than Bryce. The scene at the window to me is not about a choice of Chuck vs Bryce but a choice of who she is/was vs who she wants to be. They just represent two very different paths for her. She will hide behind her duty but she is choosing the far riskier path because her heart knows that is where she belongs. Its probably the first time in her life that when faced with an emotional fight or flight scenario she has chosen to fight.

    This is an important episode on many levels. Her treatment of Chuck next episode is her trying to protect herself from the consequences of the choice she just made. Keep it professional, treat him like just another asset and maybe she can simply ignore what happened at the docks and her vulnerability to Bryce and Chuck both. But we see as we go forward Chuck is back chipping away at those walls she tries to put back up with the same consistent and merciless force of an ocean eroding a mountain, piece by piece.

  6. Out of curiosity, how many times to you guys think you’ve watched each episode, on average?

    • atcDave says:

      S1 I’ve watched about 20 times all the way through. My favorites (1,2,3, 12, & 13) many more than that; probably close to 40 for the Pilot and Tango.
      Perhaps that’s why the episodes I don’t like as much are beginning to bore me!

      • uplink2 says:

        Wow Dave. I’m nowhere near that. I’ve done 5 complete season 1, 3 complete season 2 mainly because 1 has only 13 eps. Only 1 complete rewatch of season 3, something I will never ever do again. A handful of episodes 2 more times from season 3.0 like Three Words, Beard, Hero and OG. Maybe 10 for Honeymooners. 2 complete of season 4 and no complete rewatchs from 5 as I still haven’t rewatched any episode at all but the extended cut from the DVD since the finale.

        I’m getting closer to being able to rewatch now because of these discussions but still the feeling of incompleteness and melancholy from the finale has had a serious negative effect on my desire to retake this journey from watching the actual episodes again. I’d like to get back to being able to rewatch the 78 episodes I’d like to see again but nothing will ever get me to rewatch most of 3.0 ever again.

      • authorguy says:

        Yeah, Uplink2, I feel the same way about the finale. I suppose I’ll watch it at some point to see if the internal evidence that Sarah will get her memory back is as strong as people say. (I suppose it may be chutzpah on my part but in my mind the story ended with the Epilog and I don’t want to rock the boat or reopen old wounds. Just moving on with my stories.)

      • You guys are crazy. The finale is easily the best episode of television I’ve ever seen. It’s the entire reason I’m rewatching the show now. Fulfilled all of the promise of the show in two hours.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ve re-watched all of S2 about 10 times, but several of my favorites closer to 40. Most of S3 I only watched once, but a couple episodes around five times, and Honeymooners close to 40. I’ve watched all of S4 five times, with several favorites over 20 (Phase Three and Wedding planner close to 30). S5 is short, so I’ve watched it all six or seven times; but Business Trip and Baby are the two I keep coming back to, I’m past 20 on both of those.
        I re-watched the finale once about a week after, then couldn’t touch it until the longer cut came out. But I’ve really warmed to the longer cut (still not one of my very favorites, but a pretty good episode).

      • Wow, Dave. You’re pretty much the king here. I’ve probably gone through them all about 7-8 times. 5 for season 5 – trying to savor it. 10 or so for season 4. Some, like Crown Vic or Red Test, I’ve only watched 2-3 times.

      • atcDave says:

        It could just mean I’m most in need of a life.

      • jam says:

        I don’t know my exact numbers, but 2 and 4 are easily my most re-watched seasons. Season 4 I really like because there’s no more Will They or Won’t They, but objectively S2 is the best one. That makes me sad too, since it means the show peaked before it even reached the halfway point.

        S3 I never watch, apart from Honeymooners, of course. S5 has a couple of episodes that I really like, but after the dreadful finale I haven’t been able to watch any of them.

      • atcDave says:

        Part of what’s held down my S2 count was all the negative buzz coming from Comic Con in 2009, I really didn’t watch much Chuck again until spring of 2010.

      • Don’t worry, Dave. Chuck is better than real life!

        I’m with Jam on seasons 2 and 4, although I enjoyed 5 the most. Season 2 was just them at their sharpest, whereas you could tell 4 and 5 were more for the fans. And I appreciated them more for it.

  7. authorguy says:

    Not very often. Some I watch a lot, but I discovered Chuck at the beginning of S3, having watched the DVDs to get caught up. I watched up to the end of S3 in my most recent rewatch, and I watch First Class fairly often (I watch them for pacing ideas for my stories, too). I haven’t looked at the DVDs of S5 at all! I don’t know if I’ve seen S4 again either.

  8. Bill says:

    I’ve watched every S1 episode 20 times, every S2 episode 30 times, my favorite S3 episodes 10 times, S4 twice, and S5 once (with the exception of the finale, which I’ve watched 4 times).

  9. resaw says:

    Continuity question: Bryce seemed surprised to see Sarah in this episode. If I recall correctly, however, perhaps in the season 2 finale, I think Bryce said he knew that Sarah would come around to protect Chuck, and that’s one of the reasons why he sent the intersect to him. Anyone care to confirm or correct me?

    • Nothing Bryce said to Chuck in Castle in Chuck vs the Ring makes sense. The guy was taking one gun to challenge Roarke. It’s best to ignore everything Bryce said in Ring.

      That said, one could argue that Bryce had been almost dead and was bound to be confused. Wesley (aka the Dread Pirate Roberts) didn’t have the same problem figured out how to storm the Castle, though.

    • atcDave says:

      I think Bryce was still gathering his marbles when we met him in this episode. He wasn’t really all there until later at Chuck’s place. (I like that a lot better than just labeling it a retcon!)

  10. atcDave says:

    Okay here’s the follow up question for Chuck addiction; when and at what frequency were you most watching Chuck?
    My own peak was during S2, from about November of 2008 through May of 2009 I was often watching 2 or 3 episodes a day. That’s why my S1 and S2 counts above are so high.
    Recently I’ve been watching 4 or 5 episodes a week, and that’s where it’s been for quite a while. But it’s actually been quite a while since I’ve re-watched all of the first two seasons. Especially the episodes I consider weaker I haven’t watched in a long time. It’s funny how most of my older impressions have mostly just grown stronger. Although I would say I liked Wookiee and Nemesis better than I remembered; and Truth and Imported Hard Salami less than I remembered.

    • joe says:

      What a great discussion! I’m sorry I was AWOL yesterday, everyone. Real life takes precedence sometimes.

      My addiction took a slightly different form. I’ve done something like 4 complete, in order, back-to-back re-watches of all 5 seasons, 6 or 7 that just included the first 4, two more that ended with S3 and at least two more (and probably three) that included only the first two seasons. In other words, I can count 11 or 12 marathons for the early episodes, but fewer for seasons 3, 4 and 5.

      In addition, many individual S1 and S2 episodes were ingested daily when I could only see them on HULU, on-line. I sorta lost track of those.

      But the main symptom of my addiction was a severe case of reading and posting to the NBC boards in the spring of ’09, at the height of S2. It got to the point where I’m not sure I was fully functioning at work.

      I think the last stage of addiction is attending Comic-Con (*cough*Faith*cough*), which I haven’t done.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe you bring up the other big aspect of it, on line activity!

        Mid-S2 is when I (actually, you and I both Joe!) first became active with the on-line community through the NBC forums. So I was really, really (really!) active with my Chuck addiction at that time. Although my re-watching sort of came to a screeching halt after Comic Con 2009, my Internet activity only increased. First with the forums, then this site after you formed it, and then fan fiction. I probably was spending more time than ever with Chuck even though I was no longer watching episodes. I think, when I started re-watching regularly again after S3, I had so much more going on here and reading fan fiction that I was never able to watch as much as I had during S2.
        Now, with Internet activity finally dying down, I find myself re-watching more again. But I doubt I’ll ever do like I was during the “golden age” of S2 again.

    • I watched the most during season 4. I liked the first three seasons of Chuck, but the Wtwt stuff frustrated me – so much that I stopped watching the show until American Hero. And then the end of season 3 was really uneven.

      When season 4 came along, it re-framed all of that struggle as a journey towards where Chuck, Sarah and Casey were all at in that moment. That when Bryce wasn’t just a barrier anymore, he was somebody who taught Chuck and Sarah about themselves and each other. It’s when Casey’s reticence and constant disparaging of team B became part of a larger journey of a scarred man regaining a part of himself he sacrificed. Morgan’s failings became a part of his growth into a brave and resourceful friend who is very successful in his own right.

      Season 2 was a better statement of what Chuck was trying to be as a show. And Season 5 was both a better season and a more moving fulfilling of its promise. But Season 4 is when all the characters really finished growing into themselves and each other, and when the show became fully comfortable with itself. It wasn’t as ambitious as the other seasons, but it’s when Chuck really became a great show, at least to me.

      • joe says:

        There’s a lot I agree with, Arthur. For me, the second half of S2 (starting with Beefcake and maybe even with Suburbs) is when the characters, including Morgan, were most “in the moment,” and it. was. fantastic! I can see S4 was that way more consistently than S2, and certainly S5(!!) was also. But not quite so deeply and with quite so much impact as it was in the spring of ’09. To me, S4 and S5 make up for that with the growth of Casey and Morgan, and addition of Alex to the mix.

        I don’t have the intense distaste for S3 that others have, if only because that’s when Chuck and Sarah have their growth (yes, Dave – I know you’ll translate this to “destruction”). It’s much more agonizing for them, certainly, and not nearly as enjoyable for the viewers. For me, it was far less trivial and far more important.

        I still would love to have seen the show as it was conceived with Bryce and Bomer through to the end.

  11. Robert says:

    I’m rewatching 1 or 2 episodes a week, generally on sundays. I’m watching Season 2 right now, I’m at episode 5 now, but as much as I still enjoy them, on rewatch, I’ve realized that I prefer much more the episodes of the last two and half seasons, when Chuck and Sarah are finally together. In my book, Season 2 is still the best, but 4 and 5 are my favorites.

    I’ve been very active on chucktv forum for the last 3 years (and been a lurker for almost as long here), but it’s pretty dead right now. So glad to find out there’s still something going on here!

    • atcDave says:

      I think I would rate the seasons about the same Robert; I think S2 was qualitative the best, but I enjoy S4 and S5 the most.
      Glad to have you commenting here! We expect to stay active for a while, but no doubt things are slowing down a lot.

  12. Dave brought up another point I liked: have any of your impressions of the episodes changed after 3-4 rewatches?

    • joe says:

      I can’t speak for the others, of course, but my impressions have changed after every re-watch!

      Seriously. What happens most often is that I see a reference from an earlier episode that I missed, or a connection to a later episode that transforms a scene, if only a little. The obvious example is Morgan’s memory loss in Frosted Tips. It plays very differently after seeing Goodbye.

      One thing that’s I’m prone to do is collecting the music. I’ve discovered that the music choices were far from accidental or thoughtless and contain a lot of insights that take some time to reveal themselves.

      I don’t think is necessary to conflate Chuck with great literature, but I also experience this effect every time I read Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I’ve done, without intentionally planning to, about once every 15 years. It reads much differently to a 15 year old than it does to a 30 year old. Even more dramatic was the difference to a 45 year old (I changed a lot after the age of 30!). I have a feeling that Chuck meant more to (shall we say) middle age adults than it did to “the desired demographic.”

      • Joe, chuck is great literature! I don’t know if I agree with you. As somebody who essentially was Chuck when chuck started (mid-20’s dead end job, a bad breakup), it struck a real cord with me. The varying subtle themes of the show really meant a lot to me, especially the way they wrapped up the finale.

        I’ve been collecting some of the music recently, too. It really started making a difference after I listened to a Tom Jones interview on Chuck vs. the Podcast, and how he structured the Chuck/Sarah theme.

      • joe says:

        There was an internet quiz floating around (I’ll see if I can’t find it for you) that took your answers and decided which Chuck character was closest. I came out closest to Chuck, myself. 😉

        What’s funny is that I personally identify much more with Stephen; not too unusual since I was born the same year as Scott Bakula. I tended to relate to Chuck and Sarah much like they were my own kids, and didn’t care so much that they ended up in some ‘shipper’s idea of “happily ever after.” I just wanted to see them whole, happy and moderately successful on their own terms.

        The idea of Sarah not ending up “whole” was especially poignant, then. The idea that they were still about to help each other regardless, even more so. It’s the same reaction any parent has when their child is injured, you see.

        So maybe I DO agree with you anyway, Arthur. We’re relating on two different levels to a show that was superficially a romantic comedy with some action. It became far more than that pretty quickly and stayed that way for 5 years.

        Not bad. Not bad at all.

      • joe says:

        Ha! I found that quiz, Arthur.
        I posted about it here, and provided this link, which still works.

        You’ll enjoy it!

      • I’m Sarah. not sure If I’m excited or confused about that.

      • joe says:

        Hum…
        I think the proper response is…

        Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

        😉

      • atcDave says:

        It always identifies me as Morgan, which I would say is right on the money.

        I did want to reply to Joe’s earlier comment about age changing interpretation on these things, I do think that’s completely correct, but maybe in a different way than he does. I think my likes and dislikes have changed very little over the years. I may be better at identifying issues of quality and depth now than I once was, but what I like and dislike has not changed much. But in my twenties I was FAR more likely to completely immerse in a story, while now as an almost 50 year old, I see things far more as product. Some of that is cynicism, and some of that is just that I’ve seen most stories and twists many times over. A huge part of what I loved about Chuck from the start was the way it honored, and had fun with a lot of television style and tropes. But I think that very strength can become a MAJOR problem sometimes with the show’s drama. Because I’m already watching it at a very meta level, I have no interest in getting past that product level response when I don’t like something. So when they start playing around with love triangles or miscommunications I react similarly to how I would to an iPad case that won’t activate the sleep function or an annoying squeak in a new car. Okay, maybe that’s not fair, those are actual defects. But maybe more like a product design flaw like an all touch screen audio system that lacks hard buttons for volume or a car that doesn’t have large size cup holders. Those are engineering/design issues that will lead to me choosing a different car. So perhaps Lou isn’t quite as disastrously bad as no cup holders, but I regard that story with the same sort of product analysis, even if one carries more emotional weight than the other (I’ll leave it to the reader to guess which!)

      • Ugh, the prep scene in cliffhanger are unbearable, though I did enjoy Morgan being the priest and chaperone. Way too sappy.

        Speaking of, Uplink, Morgan is not a “minor” character in any way, shape or form. He’s got the third-most dialogue of anybody on the show, he’s its fourth most important in the show, and he’s one of the consistent spy team members. You might think he’s the worst character in the history of literature, but he’s not “minor.” Big Mike is a minor character. Perhaps even Jeffster and the Awesomes, especially giver how underused Ellie was. Hell, Chuck’s dad ended the Ring II, and he’s way more minor than Morgan. Casey and Morgan are integral to the show’s character.

        And I don’t know what about the ending was artistic, but I’ll take the amazing, satisfying and beautiful ending we got over Cliffhanger any day of the week.

    • atcDave says:

      Usually my impressions of episodes after the fact shift only slightly; in fact, I think the initial impression often has some persistence precisely because it was my initial impression. Like the finale, I didn’t like it at all at first. After much reading, analyzing and discussing I found some peace with it, and have come to think more highly of it, but it will never be a favorite exactly because I didn’t like it at first.
      That may be a common issue for me, although usually it’s not as pronounced. If an episode has a moment that later proves to be a big deal it may go up in my esteem; like the whole Morgansect arc. I liked it initially anyhow, and when I realized what a positive signal it was for the finale arc I came to like it even better. But I don’t believe anything would ever make me like Beefcake or most of S3.

    • I wasn’t thrilled about Push Mix at first, but now it’s probably my 2nd-favorite episode (Goodbye). It’s such a complete episode, even moreso than the Ring. And it’s Chuck’s (the character) manifesto – the moment when he single handedly leads a mission to take down an international arms dealer – at no point needing the intersect to do so. In the mean time, he puts his family back together, with each member of his team working under his guidance. And he tops it off by taking Casey’s advice and just proposing to Sarah where he could.

      Even Jeffster try to do their part in that episode. It doesn’t have any singular moments, but I think it’s the most consistently good episode they ever did.

      • atcDave says:

        We sure don’t find much common ground Arthur.

      • What, you don’t like push mix?

      • atcDave says:

        It’s a good episode. I’d rank it about 12th for S4. Keep in mind I really liked S4, and I only rank Anniversary and Gobbler as weaker episodes for the entire season. But I would consider Suitcase, Couch Lock, Aisle of Terror, First Fight, Phase Three, Balconey, Seduction Impossible, Wedding Planner, Agent X, Last Details and Cliffhanger all to be stronger episodes.

      • jam says:

        It seems I disagree with Arthur on most things, but I too like Push Mix. Easily one of the best episodes of S4, along with Phase Three and Wedding Planner.

      • atcDave says:

        It was a very good episode, but S4 was full of very good episodes. Very strong season.

      • uplink2 says:

        I’d say that Push Mix is top 3 of season 4 as well. I think it is a much better almost finale than Other Guy by a mile. Better than Cliffhanger from that season as well.

      • atcDave says:

        I preferred Cliffhanger, much better denouement. To me, the incompetence of Mary Bartowski, and Sarah being made to look even dumber yet (and just generally having nothing to do), really undermines Push Mix for me.. That and “yoga seal” went on WAY too long. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Push Mix is a strong episode, it suffers mainly by comparison to many other strong episodes from that season.

        As a pure finale, I agree Other guy was woefully inadequate. But not because of anything wrong with the episode itself (just like Push Mix above!), I enjoyed it and consider it a very strong episode over all. But like Push Mix, and Ring, and Ring II, and Goodbye; the end is way too abrupt. To me, Cliffhanger is the only Chuck finale that came close to having a proper denouement; and apparently that matters a lot to me.

      • Speaking of Push Mix, the new show Elementary started with the Push Mix proposal song: “Young Blood” by The Naked and Famous. It’s annoying when other shows take songs from the best moments of Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for RUINING the moment Jeff! Its on my DVR, but now I guess I won’t even bother…

        Really though, any good?

      • I haven’t decided yet. I’m guessing Monk comparisons are going to be inevitable, and he was more sympathetic. Holmes might be funny if the arrogance doesn’t get annoying.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jeff, i thought of monk almost right away.

      • jam says:

        I thought about checking it out, but figured it will inevitably fail when compared to the brilliant BBC show with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. If I hear really good things about, I’ll reconsider.

        Jeremy Brett is still the only *true* tv Holmes. 🙂

      • joe says:

        Jeff said:

        Elementary started with the Push Mix proposal song: “Young Blood” by The Naked and Famous.

        Ended with it too.

        I thought more Perception than Monk, Army. But that show fits too. I see no chance at a romantic tie between Holmes and Watson worth the name, though, so perhaps the Monk comparison is more apt in that regard.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Joe i never saw Perception, but at the crime scenes ( the living room and the missing item) where he held up his hands as he did the look around plus how he said his theories, was all monk.

      • joe says:

        I think Sherlock’s twitchiness reminded a lot me of McCormic’s roll when he’s being “manic.” Monk was eccentric, but this guy’s physicality struck me as being much like Daniel Pierce’s. Perhaps that’s just a matter of age (Shalhoub is older, I’m sure).

        I was a little disappointed in Lucy Liu. I liked her better in Ally McBeal.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Could be. things i liked were no hint of romantic feelings between the leads and we got a good bit of back story on them, which is refreshing.

      • aerox says:

        I used to have Jeremy Brett on a pedestal. Jam. Then I saw Benedict Cumberbatch. For me, he’s the true embodiment of Holmes. I loved Brett’s portrayal and I still do, but Cuberbatch kills it in every scene he’s in.

      • Dave, the Yoga seal thing went on for about 30 seconds, wasn’t that important, was split with other action, and it was a good scene that led to a better one. That’s silly as a major complaint about a 42 min. episode. And besides, Sarah single-handedly broke into a military ship after they were on high alert to rescue his mother. This after she was apparently on the edge of a major breakthrough with Volcoff. She couldn’t have been less useless.

        I much prefer Push Mix than Cliffhanger as a finale – the Morgansect was what I was most excited about for season 5 (and a disappointment). It would’ve killed me to leave it there – like being finished after The Ring. Push Mix completed the journey of the main character into a hero, like OG completed their journey into being a couple and Goodbye completed the show’s themes. Cliffhanger and The Ring were both teases.

      • anthropocene says:

        Loved that episode. I particularly enjoyed the montage interspersed with Chuck’s showdown with Volkoff, as Team B dramatically turned the tables on Team V, and Beckman mopped up.

      • uplink2 says:

        To me Cliffhanger fails as a finale for two big reasons. First and most important, not enough Sarah and no action Sarah at all. She’s virtually not even in the episode and that’s what you get when you have your female lead and in my and many others cases the reason we watch the show in a coma for your finale.

        Second it’s the ending. I hated the idea of Morgansect and would have been pissed if the last words we ever heard on the show were from a minor character for me like Morgan. Now ultimately even though I didn’t like the Morgansect arc at all as it took away too much screen time from the big three, at least it had a point. But now that I know the ending we did ultimately get I might pick that over the ‘artistic’ ending we in fact got.

      • atcDave says:

        Funny Uplink, not liking how Sarah was treated is my major beef with Push Mix. They made her look stupid so Mary could look wise; but Mary already had 20 years of stupid and I just hated the transfer. Yoga seal is directly related; they wasted time with Morgan antics and gave Sarah virtually nothing to do. I suppose my dislike of yoga seal is more symbolic than anything; but Arthur we’re talking taste and opinion here, I reserve the right to be silly whenever I want. But again, I did not dislike Push Mix, there were certainly some wonderful moments; from Volkoff’s insanity, to Chuck’s heroics, to a very funny Jeffster scene, and a perfectly understated end scene. It just isn’t one of my very favorites (I enjoy it, but never re-watch it apart from full re-watches).
        Cliffhanger on the other hand; I think the Chuck/Sarah rehearsal scene is so perfect and beautiful. Even if it is too brief, its sort of a perfect moment that elevates the whole episode for me. I was guarded about Morgansect; but I thought the way they pulled it off was brilliant, clever and fun, so again, it actually elevates my esteem for the set up to it.

      • jam says:

        Cliffhanger would have been a much better series finale than Goodbye, that’s for sure. Morgan getting the Intersect wouldn’t have bothered me all that much… it’s just Morgan, so whatever.

        But I agree with Uplink, Sarah spending the season finale (and a possible series finale) lying in a hospital was a horrible idea. Of course, then Fedak ended up doing something even worse for S5…

      • Plus, “I know Kung Fu” never ever gets old.

      • atcDave says:

        Jam I would completely agree with that; I think Sarah was far too often sidelined for finales of every sort. I’m sure the thinking involved wanting to show Chuck as the primary hero from 2.22 on. But given that I was always more interested in Sarah’s heroics than Chuck’s, it just ends up meaning that finales were rarely my very favorite episodes. In fact, I can’t think of a single finale or break episode that I rank among my very favorites (okay; Marlin is, but that was an unintentional finale!). But for exactly the reasons you mention, I consider Cliffhanger the best of the bunch.

      • Ugh, the prep scene in cliffhanger are unbearable, though I did enjoy Morgan being the priest and chaperone. Way too sappy.

        Speaking of, Uplink, Morgan is not a “minor” character in any way, shape or form. He’s got the third-most dialogue of anybody on the show, he’s its fourth most important in the show, and he’s one of the consistent spy team members. You might think he’s the worst character in the history of literature, but he’s not “minor.” Big Mike is a minor character. Perhaps even Jeffster and the Awesomes, especially giver how underused Ellie was. Hell, Chuck’s dad ended the Ring II, and he’s way more minor than Morgan. Casey and Morgan are integral to the show’s character.

        And I don’t know what about the ending was artistic, but I’ll take the amazing, satisfying and beautiful ending we got over Cliffhanger any day of the week.

        Plus, “I know Kung Fu” never ever gets old.

      • That post came off a little stronger than I wanted it to, sorry. I can’t not get emotional when I’m defending Chuck!

      • atcDave says:

        To me, Sarah is the highlight of the show, and episodes where she is featured and gets the major hero scenes will always be my favorites. I also like Chuck a lot, I consider it only a minor gripe of mine that he conspicuously gets all the big hero moments in finales from S2 on. I would have preferred a more even split between Chuck and Sarah. But the complaint isn’t huge, its just I’ll often prefer mid-season episodes as opposed to the finales.
        Morgan and Casey are the next issue. I enjoy both characters as comic side kicks (of very different sorts!). I always (from the Pilot) felt like Morgan got a little more screen time than I would have preferred, and Casey was comparatively underutilized (especially in the later three seasons). This is also a fairly minor issue, it only becomes a little more significant when Morgan starts encroaching on time I’d rather see Sarah getting (episodes like Push Mix I felt Sarah got WAY too little screen time, Morgan got too much).

        Obviously a second issue I have with Arthur’s comments is I completely love the sweet sappy scenes for Chuck and Sarah. In fact I’ll take it a step further and say that from the very beginning I always considered Chuck and Sarah scenes to be the highlight of the episode. While there are specific exceptions, my final assessment of the good or bad of any episode is often the good or bad of Chuck and Sarah together. If I don’t end an episode with a good feeling for both characters I likely won’t like the episode. That was what I was watching for. Everything else was window dressing. Often very fun window dressing. Morgan does still make me laugh in many scenes and I appreciate that. But Chuck and Sarah determine the good and bad of it for me, never Morgan or Casey or anyone else.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur its not about defending Chuck, you attacked the prep scene which is one of my all time favorites (assuming you mean the practice vows). Its that you obviously are watching for something very different than I am (see previous comment). Even though Uplink, Jam and I disagree on certain specific details, I think we mostly were watching the show for the same thing. Because you want more different things our agreement will be far less.

      • I don’t completely disagree – I love a good Chuck-Sarah moment, the same way I love syrup – it’s incredible and makes everything better, but once you start drowning things in it, everything gets soggy and over-sweet. And that is a terrible metaphor.

        Point being, Scenes like “Yes, Chuck. Yes,” or “kiss me” are my favorite things about the show. The beach scene in the finale is one of the only 2 times I’ve cried for any work of fiction. They’re great. But the Cliffhanger is just sooo long, drawn out and tell-y. I much prefer the look in Sarah’s eyes when she meets the piranha for the first time, or seeing them both start laughing in relief in OG, or even her complete trust in Crown Vic, when Chuck’s credibility is “at an all-time low.” I guess I like the little moments more than the big ones.

        But I have to be honest, I love the whole cast dynamic. Casey’s growing friendship with (and respect for) Chuck feels like the show’s most honest barometer for where Chuck is as a character. Sarah always loved him. He had to earn Casey. And Morgan’s like the family dog. The little moments where Sarah helps Casey with Gertrude, Ellie’s “Devin, take him out” in Cliffhanger, Morgan’s kamikaze in Couch Lock, or Jeffster simply being there in Goodbye. These “window dressings” are what give the show its character.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I’m a huge fan of syrup, and I don’t care for sweet and sour. And I’m surprised that metaphor works on almost every level for me!
        I would agree with calling Goodbye a superior episode to Cliffhanger in total, but I found the end to be too rushed and too abrupt by far. I needed more. I have become certain that it was a happy ending, but the fact I wasn’t sure for 30 minutes will always taint the experience. As I’ve said since the night it ran, I NEEDED at least four more words (“take me home Chuck”) and would have preferred more than that. And it’s well established by now different groups of viewers are at an impasse; I will never see the finale as you did and you will never see it like I did. I remain very pleased overall with S5 and I’m glad we got it. But as a singular finale episode Cliffhanger works better for me than Goodbye.

      • uplink2 says:

        Arthur, maybe I should have said Morgan is a minor character “to me”. I hated him in season 1, not much better in season 2 outside of how he impacts Chuck and Sarah in Best Friend. If he had stayed in Hawaii with Anna after season 2 it wouldn’t have bothered me in the least. I did grow to like him a bit more in Beard and in season 4 he became a more enjoyable character. But he was always behind the big three and Ellie for me as far as interest. I just didn’t care about him and he was always a very ‘minor’ reason why I watched the show. If I could have picked the person for Chuck to have his supposed epiphany with in Beard, which really wasn’t an epiphany as he had said he loved Sarah twice before, it would have been Ellie. I would take 60% of screen time away from Morgan and given it to Ellie and some even to Devon in a heartbeat. I just didn’t like the character much at all.

        But I’ve always felt that Fedak shares a kinship with Morgan and that is why he became so important. He just never interested me until much later in the series but that was still just minor. In fact I’d have given Big Mike more screen time and gladly taken it away from Morgan. He was always my favorite BuyMoron and his time on screen is always a joy to watch. Not so much with the bearded troll.

        I’m not going to get into a discussion of the unsatisfying ‘artistic’ final scene of the finale here now. I’m sure we will certainly have it again in the future. But all I can say is my disappointment at that moment when I yelled at the screen, “That’s it? You’re ending it there?” is something I can never fix or get back. Can I learn to accept it, yes, but that moment I wanted to say goodbye to these characters I love so much was lost and is gone forever. The worst of it is I’ve yet to rewatch a single episode since except the extended cut. In many ways I just don’t see the point. The growth of the most important character on the show for me was thrown away for one more run at WTWT. RDM even said that was one of their intents. Because of that I’m left with a feeling of incompleteness that has yet to go away and probably never will.

        Arthur I am happy for you that you see things and feel things that I clearly don’t but I can’t change the way I feel. It was terrifically acted, well directed and was a well executed vision unlike season 3. But it simply was a vision I found very unfulfilling and I can never change that.

      • Mel says:

        Fedak undeniably tried to get ‘artistic’ with the finale, and the end product became something you’d expect from a pretentious film school reject. Not emotionally satisfying at all, empty and hollow.

        Nemesis is an alright episode, but it unfortunately it also undoes a lot of the positive feelings the viewers might have developed for Bryce after Alma Mater.

      • atcDave says:

        I’d agree with most of that Uplink, except I think I’d rather see Sarah and Casey benefit from less Morgan! I think I actually did start liking Morgan more during S2, but I never would have missed him if he left either. I do need to emphasize again though, this is not a major complaint with me, Morgan did often make me laugh, I’m mostly okay with how he was handled.
        RDM’s comments about the return of WT/WT did leave me pretty annoyed. Like they deliberately gypped me out of a more fun ending. But as you said, I’ve made my peace with it, I don’t buy any comments about Sarah leaving or divorce by amnesia (both comments were made by unhappy viewers at this site). I believe it was a happy ending, just not one I ever would have chosen.

      • Robert says:

        Morgan grew on me. I really disliked him during season 1, didn’t mind him in season 2, was ok with him for the rest of the series, but I agree that less Morgan and more Sarah, Casey and Ellie would’ve been better. The problem is that Morgan was Schwedak’s hobby-horse. They said themselves that even before Chuck, Sarah and Casey were more fleshed ideas, Morgan was already there, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see Morgan get more time than others.

        Push-Mix was more nicely “packaged” than Cliffhanger, I agree. But I also really liked Cliffhanger, to finally see Chuck and Sarah tying the knot. For me, it was touching to see them practice their vows, and it was funny to see Chuck lose it over Sarah’s vows. And contrary to some, I’m okay with seeing a character put on the side if it serves the story. And as awesome as it is to see Sarah making her journey alongside her man, let us not forget that, ultimately, the show is about Chuck.

        And for those who found the Finale difficult to bear, let’s just say it’s obvious that Chuck and Sarah made it; the beach scene illustrated it very well, and made it very clear, just as all the visual clues scattered throughout the Finale. I agree that it would’ve been better if we would’ve seen Chuck and Sarah in their dream house, kissing and/or practicing to start a family, but there was enough indications that it will happen. Heck, Fedak, and even Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski said it.

      • The greatness of Goodbye and Sarah deserves 5,000 words, not 200, so I’m not going to get into it in this space, except to say that if there had been some kind of fairytale Charah-and-kids in the future ending, I wouldn’t be watching the show anymore.

        But Uplink, as far as this “my opinion is my opinion, and it will never change for anything” stuff… is that not the point? Forget Chuck; isn’t that the point of talking to anybody in the first place? To challenge your views? I mean, there have been tons of episodes I didn’t like at all. Baby, for instance. I hated it. Then I read a review of some woman talking about how much Sarah’s line, “I’m not alone,” meant to her – how she saw it as Sarah recognizing, for the first time, that who she was ceased to be relevant to who she is. How in that one monologue, Sarah expressed summarized her entire journey of five years of her life, and the immense changes they had wrought upon her. Now Baby’s one of my favorites, because somebody else changed the way I viewed it. The whole reason I’m here is to learn to enjoy my favorite show in new ways. Why not?

      • uplink2 says:

        Arthur, I didn’t need a fairytale ending but I didn’t need an incomplete one either. My point about my reaction never changing is because it can’t. No matter what any of the very eloquent writers here say to explain what they saw or they felt about those last moments it will never change my reaction to them because that moment has past. It’s lost in the continuum of time and can never be gotten back or re-experienced. I just wanted to say goodbye to these characters I loved so much and enjoy that feeling of loss and sadness as well as relish in the great ride they took me on. But that didn’t happen for me. What I was left with instead was emptiness and a feeling of melancholy because I felt manipulated again. That this “Film School” ending was an ending written for them and not for me. Maybe that’s selfish on my part but it doesn’t take away from my emotional response. And this show was always about emotion with me. Do I believe they left the beach together and rebuilt their lives? Absolutely, but I didn’t ‘feel’ it. I felt empty and unsatisfied. That is a moment that I can never get back and a feeling that will always hang over the show for me and its why I still can’t rewatch.

        So I come here to discuss things, to get a better understanding of what others saw and maybe come to find a peace with it. But I will never ‘feel’ it because that moment is gone forever. I also come because I DO want to be able to rewatch and enjoy some day and maybe discussing things will help me get there sooner. But it will never make me love that ending. The best I can hope for is to accept it and not have it take away so much of the enjoyment this show has brought me. Did I want an epilog scene with Chuck and Sarah in the house with the red door and the baby sleeping in the nursery? Yes, but I didn’t need it. I believe they will get there. But four additional words of dialog could have changed everything in terms of my emotional reaction to it and given me the ‘goodbye’ I did need. I just don’t see how “Let’s go home, Chuck” would have lessened their vision and it would have given me the moment I did need and want to feel.

        But I do have a question I’d like to pose to folks, does anyone think that the mixed reaction to the finale had any, even a tiny amount, of impact on the fact that the show has not been sold into syndication? Shows with much smaller audiences over their lifespan have been sold to a number of the plethora of cable channels, yet Chuck hasn’t. It certainly had enough episodes to warrant it. Sure it’s a niche show but it had a reputation for a very loyal and active fanbase yet we have seen nothing. I just wonder if a buyer for a cable channel sees how even that active fanbase is so divided about how it ended if I might think twice about paying for the rights to air it.

      • anthropocene says:

        Has fan disagreement affected DVD sales of season 5 relative to those of other seasons? I’m no expert but I’d think that would have an influence on syndication.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur I don’t believe most of us are looking to change our opinions about our various likes and dislikes; and given how strongly worded your opinions often are I don’t believe you really are either. I think for most of us it’s a matter of celebrating what we loved, and commiserating over what we didn’t. It can be fun to explore our different reactions with each other, but it’s often a fine line into badgering and being disrespectful. I think Uplink summed up my reaction to the finale perfectly; I’m completely satisfied it ended well, and I can even enjoy it now on re-watch. But it wasn’t one of my very favorites, and thousands of words in its defense will not change that. If you want to write long essays from your own joy and enthusiasm that’s awesome, and many readers will agree with you. But don’t make gaining “converts” your goal, that will only lead to frustration for all of us. For me, Pilot, Tango, First Date, DeLorean, Best Friend, Colonel, Honeymooners, Phase Three, Wedding Planner and Baby are my top ten. And I’d probably add another 40 episodes for my top twenty list. Your list is different and always will be. We can have fun with those differences and question each others taste, intelligence and parentage. But I don’t think it will ever be profitable to expect change.

        Uplink I don’t really know why there were no bites on syndication (well yet anyway). One guess though, with such a cult show, they may figure most of the core audience already owns the series and repeat viewings won’t do well. That and more serialized shows are always a tougher sell, Chuck may be just serialized enough to raise flags. And of course it really was a niche show. Add to that how divided the fan base was in the last three seasons, and it just may not be seen as a prime candidate for rapid repeats. My hope is that is a couple years that will change, I could easily see it making a come back after a cooling off period.

      • atcDave says:

        Anthro I don’t know if there’s been any good speculation on why S5 sales were weak (last I knew, maybe they picked up?). But one thought, a lot of people I talked to never even knew the show came back for a fifth season and its just completely off their radar. NBC gave us virtually no press for the renewal and day change. It’s funny, because I don’t know anyone who was ready to quit the show after S4, they just lost track of it. Unlike S3 when I was almost pleading with people to stick it out (or come back after Other Guy!).

      • joe says:

        Oh my! See what happens when I take a day?

        [I]sn’t that the point of talking to anybody in the first place? To challenge your views?

        Arthur, it’s the word “challenge” that caught our attention here, I’m sure. I suspect many of us had our views about the show challenged sufficiently over the years.

        Heh. Dave said above that Uplink summed up his reaction to the finale ‘perfectly.’ Oddly enough, he didn’t come close to summing up mine! But that’s more than okay. What he’s done is given me something in addition to what I had before, something that I can’t help but to consider next time around. It’s not a challenge. It’s closer to revelation.

        Nearly everyone here has done that for me.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Uplink, i think there are several reasons. the declining ratings over the last years, the lack of DVD sales for the last 2 seasons, and the divided fan base. as dave said add to that it’s a serial show and they just do not do well anyway. another thing to consider is the cost. from my understanding, there are many people who get a slice of the pie, the studios, actors, PTP and so on. chuck had a pretty good sized cast and so on. it may not be fiscally attractive to the networks.

      • Well Dave, you’re arguing against things I never said, so I can’t really respond. Joe, I don’t see the distinction. Perhaps you’re just saying it better than I did.

        Uplink, as Dave said, if you find it unfulfilling, then you do. That’s not the issue. Your claim here is that your four words is the difference between a good ending and a juvenile, manipulative, faux-artistic ending. The distinction you’re making between vague and concrete is real. The evaluation of intent seems hyperbolic.

        Fanbases seem to always do this with longer series – Lost is another example. Everybody gets so invested, and we all want our own personal perfect ending. When the writers dare to do anything other than a clean wrap-up, they’re crucified. But then when you do a clean wrap-up, you’re an unoriginal coward (not that either of these are your opinion; I’m generalizing). Endings are exceptionally hard to write. That doesn’t mean that they can’t fail, but there’s quite a bit of middle ground between “great” and “manipulative faux-artistic film school student,” and I think that defining it in such stark terms does a disservice to the people who created it and insults the people who like it. Perhaps I got too defensive about it, but that’s how I see it.

        It’s also possible we’re not completely talking about the same thing. When I say “ending,” I mean all of Sarah and Goodbye. You seem to be talking about the beach scene specifically. I don’t think the two can be divorced.

        There was a rumor that WB pushed for Chuck to continue because it thought the show would be strong in syndication, but that never really made much sense. Sure, on a channel like SyFy or FX, it might find a home among people who would get a lot of its humor, but shows that typically do well in syndication are usually more episodic than Chuck: Fresh Prince, Law&Order, That 70’s show, etc. Chuck, especially in seasons 2&3, has so much going on. If somebody’s first time watching Chuck, they saw The Beard, or Beefcake, or Samurai, I can’t see them getting into it.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur you suggested the entire point of communication is convince others to change their minds, and you pointedly did not limit that just to Chuck discussions. That is not what we do here. We are a pointless site by your own definition. Which is fine, I’m happy to have a pointless hobby. But this has always been about sharing our passion and enthusiasm for Chuck. If someone finds some love or appreciation for some aspect of the show they didn’t previously have that is great, but it isn’t the “point” of what we do here. The point is purely about the shared passion.

      • Dave, I can’t argue that, because it is neither what I said nor what I believe. The only person who has used the words “convince” or “convert” in this discussion has been you. Opposing points of view challenge each other, by definition, in a discussion. I believe diverse opinions are the essence of productive and entertaining discussion – like Uplink challenging my opinion of the ending. If you’d like to debate either of those assertions, I’d be happy to listen. But the idea that anybody else must “convert” to my beliefs is your construction, not mine.

      • jam says:

        Uplink didn’t challenge your opinion, he told his own. It does seem like you’re unhappy because other folks don’t agree with your views.

      • uplink2 says:

        Arthur, I’m going to repost the last paragraph from above.

        Arthur I am happy for you that you see things and feel things that I clearly don’t but I can’t change the way I feel. It was terrifically acted, well directed and was a well executed vision unlike season 3. But it simply was a vision I found very unfulfilling and I can never change that.

        To me that is not challenging your view. It’s, if anything envious that you see it differently than I do. I’ve gotten into a number of discussions with Faith about that and am envious about how she sees it. But people respond to emotional things differently and many times irrationally. But it doesn’t mean I’m saying your reaction was wrong. I’m simply saying I didn’t react the same way.

        Maybe seeing you came into the series later than I did your reaction is different. I’ve talked to many Chuck fans that watched season 3 for the first time on DVD one after the other and their reaction was much less severe than mine. The emotions that built up week to week made for a much different and far more hated experience for me. Waiting those 3 weeks after the worst written episode they ever did only to feel like they were spitting in my face with Fake Name was agonizing and it almost killed the show for me. But one big difference with the ending vs season 3 is that at no point have I said that what they did was poorly executed. In fact it was well execute with some of the best acting in the series. Now we can argue whether a memory loss storyline is the proper way to end a series and IMO it’s not, but for that vision it was done very very well. Season 3 was a different story. Not only was it a story choice I hated but it was poorly executed, poorly cast and not at all enjoyable on virtually any level for me. I can’t and won’t ever say that about the finale.

        So I’m not trying to challenge your opinion or make you come over to my vision. I just see it differently and maybe, just maybe that is part of its greatness. But for me I just never got to say goodbye. They wanted me to think about what was happening to understand it, and I just wanted to feel it. You obviously did. I just wanted Chuck and Sarah to say goodbye so I could say it. And the fact that I didn’t get to do that will always haunt me when I think about this incredible show.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        “… let’s just say it’s obvious that Chuck and Sarah made it; the beach scene illustrated it very well, and made it very clear …”

        To some, that is the case, and that’s great. (Hey some see good in the misery arc. :-/)

        To others, myself included, it is the complete opposite of “obvious” and “very clear”. It’s “ambiguous” (at best) enough to make the entire series not matter. But hey, they wanted the fans to finish their story.

        In some ways they “Dallas – “it was all a bad dream” ‘-ed” it.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree Captain though I do think they leave together. But if it was such an “obvious” thing and “clearly shown” then why were Schwartz and Fedak running around afterwards telling everyone that it was a happy ending and the ambiguity was only about whether she got all her memories back? If it was that clear and obvious then there would have been no need for that. And though I really appreciate Ernie’s take on many many things I will never agree that if anyone didn’t see that, it was somehow their fault.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey Capt Mediocre, I would agree entirely that you just found the huge flaw in the finale; the fact that so many viewers left with that impression. You know we discussed and analyzed 5.13 for months.
        I do believe now that the ending was a happy one. But it was too subtle by far. And those doubts you just expressed are exactly why I remain unenthusiastic about that ending (and the whole episode). Far too many viewers left feeling exactly like you said. No matter what was factually present in the story, I will always consider it a story-telling failure because too many viewers didn’t get it. When a huge chunk of the audience misunderstands the blame is all on the story teller. Shame on them for requiring us to do massive research to discern their intent. When scene by scene analysis, plus interviews with the writer are required to understand the ending it can’t be a good thing!
        For the record, if you want a good examination and discussion of that ending look here.

      • uplink2 says:

        Well said Dave. I agree 150%. A writer will never please everyone, that is a certainty, and they shouldn’t even try, but if a very significant part of your audience doesn’t get your intent, you have failed as a storyteller. If you have to go around telling everyone “it’s the memories returning that was the ambiguous part not whether they fall in love again.” and If the showrunners have to reinforce it as a happy ending in interview after interview for people to see it then they simply didn’t do their job well enough. The ending should speak for itself. But one thing Fedak does extremely well is fracture the fanbase.

      • authorguy says:

        No ending which had Sarah without her memories would have been good enough, regardless of whether she fell in love with him again or not.

      • jam says:

        Agreed, it was a mistake to even go with the memory loss plotline with just couple of episodes left, no matter how it got resolved.

        Chuck should have ended with the Bartowskis & co fighting together side by side to secure a better future, not with the viewers wondering if Sarah’s memories will return or not.

      • atcDave says:

        I think it’s a shame that they really are a couple of excellent episodes (5.12 & 5.13), but I find them off putting enough I don’t really care to re-watch them often. Like Uplink, I think I would have been completely fine with the four word fix; but an epilogue episode, or even better, an epilogue arc, where we see Sarah and Charah completely recover and get back to where they were would have been even better. Of course this is where I always plug Thinkling’s excellent “Sarah vs Finding Herself” for those who haven’t checked it out yet! And there has been quite a number of excellent post series stories at this point including those by Anthropecene, MyNameIsJeffNImLost, billandbrick, and Jason. Obviously, a lot of Chuck fans felt that ending needed a little bit more!

      • BigKev67 says:

        Interesting discussion.
        I agree with Arthur’s initial point about the benefit of having people challenge your views. That’s where I’ve always found the most fun and value to be had on the blog. Reading a whole swathe of opinions that agree with mine gets pretty dull pretty fast.
        And new insights have absolutely changed how I view episodes. When I first watched Pink Slip/Three Words I was so surprised and disappointed by the abrupt change in tone and character of the show that I came to the blog looking for explanations. And they came – principally from Ernie and Liz James, giving me a new perspective that enabled me to understand and really enjoy S3 (aside from a couple of major flaws!)
        But it doesn’t always work. Often my initial impression remains, or strengthens. I still can’t abide most of the intersect less arc despite Ernie’s and Thinkling’s eloquent defence of it. And I still think the final amnesia storyline was an awful decision, and the final 10 minutes of the finale was the most disappointed I’ve ever been by a TV show. That said, I would recommend the pro-finale pieces posted here at the time to anyone, because they’re beautifully written, and they make the case much more strongly than any post-episode interviews that I’ve seen.

      • atcDave says:

        Kev you are always polite when you disagree, it makes a big difference. And I would agree with having gained much understanding and insight from those who saw episodes differently than I; although I also don’t believe a basic like/dislike judgement was ever reversed, quite a few neutral reactions were improved upon.

      • uplink2 says:

        I am curious about what people think a back 9 order might have brought. Would we have just seen more of the same but stretched and some bottle episodes thrown in or would we have seen an epilog story with Sarah and Chuck rebuilding their lives after the memory loss?

      • ArmySFC says:

        Uplink, being im the cynic that i am i’ll jump on this. i believe that TPTB think the ending they gave us was perfect. so what i think would happen has many moving parts. first the final eps wold stay just that, the final three. any new ones would be used before that. they would probably do a small 3 ep arc maybe two, and then 3 stand alone ones, you get the idea. second, because the order would have come very early on, the schedule changes they made would not have happened, ie: moving things to the left and doubling the last one up. they would have had the normal winter break of 4-6 weeks allowing for production time to get the 9 new ones done so the last three could be moved to the end. i seriously doubt that as good as the last three were to TPTB they would want to put them any where but at the end.

      • ArmySFC says:

        opps hit the send to early. my reasoning also includes taking the move of ellie, devon and casey into account. im sure the actors who play them would have to make a certain number of appearances, so keeping them around would make it easier. ellie and devon could come back for visits but doing casey could be harder. just my 50 cents.

      • anthropocene says:

        I agree, Army—I think vs. Sarah and vs. the Goodbye would have been the last two no matter when. If it had been a full season we might have seen a bit more of Chuck and Sarah setting up their tech firm, and the Ellie and Devon move might have been stretched out. But we probably would have gotten more Shaw too….

  13. Just happened to be watching Green Eyed Monster from FarScape and the end of that episode neatly parallels Sarah’s mindset at the end of this one and carrying over into the next one.

    “Aeryn: Have you seen – (she tosses the vidchip onto his bunk beside him and then sits down next to him) – this?

    John: Yah.

    Aeryn: When did you see it?

    John: (his words are rushed) Aeryn – I’m not your boyfriend, I’m not your husband, I’m not your anything. You can do what you want. (he picks up the vidchip and tosses it away like a disagreeable piece of trash that he doesn’t want on his bed)

    Aeryn: It’s not real. You know that don’t you? The – um – the last part. Talyn – altered the image. (John stops his writing and looks up , but not at her. He looks tired) I never – recreated with Crais. (he makes no response, unable to let go so easily of the resentment. As for Aeryn, she also can’t let go of her need to dismiss others) Not that it should matter. (and therein lies the problem)

    John: (quietly, still not looking at her) It does.

    Aeryn: It never did before. See, uh – (a bittersweet smile at the memory) I had this life. I liked it! it had rules – I followed the rules – and that made everything right. (resentfully) And then you come along and you frell everything up. (she struggles to find the words) S-strange human, – with – arrogance, stubbornness…

    John: (offering a word of his own) Dumb.

    Aeryn: Let me finish. You saw the recording – and you didn’t say a word. You are like a plague, John Crichton. And you have ruined my life. (that analogy compels him to look at her) And yet I just – (she throws up her hands in disbelief at herself) – keep coming back.”

  14. atcDave says:

    I’m going to start discussion Uplink’s question from above here; that previous thread had grown far too long!
    What would have happened if Chuck had a S5 back order?
    I’d start by saying it depends on when they got it. If it came early, they likely would have drawn out the main arc to end on the beach exactly like they did. But I think its a far more interesting spec if the order had come later. My guess is they would have come up with a new nemesis to confront, while resolving Sarah’s memory issues pretty quickly (since Fedak considered her recovery well underway anyway). Things might have complicated by Chuck and Sarah attempting to withdraw from the spy biz, trying to keep Chuck’s new Intersect a secret from the government and possibly even a pregnancy for the last couple episodes adding the twist of having to keep Sarah away from the action. Bonus points for more stand alone episodes. My perfect scenario would involve a complete epilogue episode with no case/mission at all, but of course that’s not how modern television is written.

    • ArmySFC says:

      Dave, can ya move my thoughts from above down here, lol?

      • atcDave says:

        I wish! I tried to move Uplink’s question down, but I’m pretty bad at figuring these things out. If there’s a way I don’t see it.

        Army I do want to add to your comments above, I agree the writers loved their ending, so my hope would be that the extension would come late enough that they’d have to do something new.
        I think Casey’s absence is easy to deal with, Gertrude hires Chuck and Sarah for their tech help, and they all have a couple episodes in Europe before they get to head home. The Awesome’s could have their own little adventure in Chicago, and they end up needing teamB’s help for another couple weeks.
        In my dream world, I’d then do a couple of episodes with just Chuck and Sarah getting in trouble on their own. Then finish off with the whole gang back together for big family reunion celebration. Have something go horribly wrong when they all get together, maybe someone kidnapped or hurt that leads to another big adventure. Then finish it all with a big send off, have the whole gang together for a huge gathering at the start, then end with everyone settling into their lives. Especially want to see Chuck and Sarah in their new office with let’s of windows.

        Of course that’s more about I wanted to see than what I’d expect to see.

      • ArmySFC says:

        that could very well be Dave. the sad thing is i believe they knew the results their ending would have on the viewers. there were several blog reports that had TPTB saying the last three would split the fandom and those reports were right. if the ending they gave us was anywhere but the end i believe it would have been the last straw for a lot of the remaining fans and the ratings would be worse than the CW and the final eps would not have gotten air time.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah suffice to say I would not trust Chuck’s show runners again. Funny, I did regain my trust in them during S4, but they damaged it pretty badly with that end. I wish more than anything we had more Chuck to look forward to, but my deepest hope would always involve different show runners. I like much of Fedak’s style, sense of humor, and idea of adventure. But I completely don’t trust how he would handle my favorite characters ever again.

      • thinkling says:

        Army, I think a case could be made for just the opposite. The main reason the finale split the fandom was that it was the end. If they had another episode to show the healing, a lot of people that were up in arms would have been fine. With an extra arc or back 9, the ending could have been the gateway to a wonderful love-conquers-all finish.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Thinkling, i think a good case could be made for both cases. those fans that liked to loved the end and want to see them fall in love all over would probably stick around. those that didn’t like it and did not want to go through another (possible) 9 eps of wt/wt (those that lost trust in TPTB) would probably jump ship. im by no means saying im right just using the reaction of the fans during S-3 to form a guess as to what might happen.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t think there’s anyway they would have done another nine episodes of wt/wt. Fedak did indicate in many interviews he was bored of it (gee, maybe it could have occurred to him viewers were bored of it too…) and he pointedly described the ending as Sarah having caught up to Chuck “emotionally”. I don’t know exactly what would have happened, but I would bet money Sarah’s recovery would have been rapid (two episodes maximum) if the show continued.

      • uplink2 says:

        I think Army’s point is very valid. I certainly lost trust in Schwedak and I really don’t know if I would have stuck around for 9 eps of WTWT or any for that matter. If they did that it would say that Schwartz’s comment at Comicon 2010 was a lie, that they had learned their lesson with season 3. I always found it interesting that he used that to deflect talking about it and then when the would not allow any questions it pushed all of that under the rug.

        But Dave is right, timing for the order would have been important. We knew they only had about 3 episodes to show something in the ratings before they had to make a decision. Lo and behold it was the Morgansect arc that aired to even more disappointing ratings than I would have expected. However interestingly enough Chuck’s premiere against the World Series had ratings are almost identical to Fringe friday, one tenth lower in demo but more overall viewers. I wonder if Fox will air all 13. Those numbers are never even less acceptable at Fox. So if they were in mid November when they got the order, they were probably shooting Bo or Bullet Train. So an order would have been very difficult to change schedules. They would have booked Angus already and to delay shooting till after January-Feb to take the entire arc and slide it till the end would have been tough. If they shot through and still wanted to delay they would be shooting just a couple of weeks prior to airing and they may have delayed Baby on for say three weeks till mid January.

        I do wonder if they had a plan for it and what that might have entailed.
        I never really felt many were excited about Morgansect and though I understand why they did it, those first 3 episodes are some of the weakest of season 5.

      • ArmySFC says:

        uplink here is my idea on why pushing would work. filming of the finals ended some time in late nov i think. santa suit (7) aired on 23 dec. normally a break happens for 6 weeks, meaning the first week of feb. running the next 3 gets us to mar. skip a week. then add the new ones. that would have given them almost 3 full months to film the eps needed. even if it ran late they would have at least 4 or 5 done by air date ad still have a month lead on the eps they filmed. this is based on getting the early nod say the thrird ep (11 NOV)

      • ArmySFC says:

        uplink, on disappointing numbers i predicted them here during the summer. i based it on the reaction here on this blog on how morgan getting the intersect was greeted. look at the posts dealing with it and you will see many bad reactions. also i used the fact that fri generally gets 30% less viewers than the rest of the week and i think the drop was about 30% but dipped after the next 2, if i remember right. i know some folks like morgan and consider him important, but i cant help but feel that morgan sect chased people on the bubble away.

      • uplink2 says:

        Well I don’t need to read those posts over the summer about disappointment in the idea of Morgansect because I wrote many of them lol. Looking back it was an idea that had a purpose in their over arching plan but I found little to no entertainment value in it. It was a story they wanted to tell setting up the memory loss idea but I didn’t find anything really interesting or enjoyable in that element of the season. It put way too much emphasis and screen time to someone I consider a second to third tier player in interest to me. The stunt effects were god awful and it really wasn’t even very funny. I remember reading some of the press about it and them doing damage control it wouldn’t be around all season. How they sent out the first 3 episodes so reviewers could tell folks to hang in there it will be done after episode 5.3. Too bad that was the last chance for ratings to be enough for a back order.

      • ArmySFC says:

        uplink. well i was on the fence about even watching S-5 because of S-4 in general. i skipped quite a few eps in 4. i tuned in to the last couple and when he popped up with it i groaned. i watched 5-1 and skipped to 7 because of it. i had no desire to watch it further for the reasons you mentioned. i never liked morgan and never will. it was a highlight when he was supposed to leave but alas he returned.

        they started damage control early if i remember, like during the summer. not a good way to start off, begging fans to give it a chance for a few eps, sounded like the middle of S-3 to me.

    • Robert says:

      A really good question!

      I tend to agree with Thinkling; and we see a Fedak pattern with the Finale; it’s very similar to how ended 3.13 and 4.13. And if each one had been the series finale, it probably would’ve caused the same reaction within the Chuck fandom. We got 2 very good episodes after each one of thosethe excellent Honeymooners, and the very good Seduction Impossible. No reason to think it wouldn’t have happened that way with a 5.14 episode.

      I believe we would’ve had a similar kind of episode, with Sarah recovering more of her memories, and Chuck, being loving and supportive, regaining her heart. Then probably setting up their computer security firm, and starting their family. One last nenace, something like blackmail into doing something illegal and very risky, or threatening their family, or even putting them against the CIA?

      I dunno, but I somehow don’t think it would’ve been as good, because in 5.10, Chuck and Sarah had clearly established they were quitting the spy life for good. And nobody knows for sure that Chuck has a new version of the Intersect, except Sarah (though Casey must strongly suspect it), so an “intersect” related menace seems unlikely, though not impossible, especially if someone bent on restarting an Intersect project might wanna get their hands on Chuck, or control him by threatening Sarah and their unborn child? And Sarah would go berzerk on that someone who’s threatening their normal life again (wait; isn’t what they were trying to do with Quinn?!), especially after what they went through days before?

      As for Fedak continuing to write Chuck and Sarah’s adventures, I’m ok with that; but for the sake of some of you here, I think Fedak would need a co-writer to balance him; a bit like how Schwartz or to a lesser degree balanced him, or if you want a grander example, how Lennon and McCartney balanced each other during the Beatles days; and how much each others flaws were apparent in their songwriting during the seventies. Fedak was all drama, Schwartz was more comedy. The Finale could’ve been a little bit different had Schwartz been more involved in “Chuck” during the last 2 seasons…

      • atcDave says:

        A great spec Robert, I like a lot of your suggestions there. I do think Fedak can be a very good writer (obviously, I loved his show!), perhaps you’re right that with the right partner I would like more of his work.

    • Robert says:

      One last thing; I think a back nine would’ve been too long; a back six would’ve been more than enough.

  15. resaw says:

    atdDave says: “But I completely don’t trust how he would handle my favorite characters ever again.” Unfortunately, Chuck and Sarah are not our characters. They belong to the show runners, or perhaps more accurately, to Warner Brothers. Barring a movie, this is all we get. Well, except for some for some excellent post-finale and AU fan fiction, which I find is increasingly occupying my free time. By the way, I see on ChuckTV.net that the complete series is coming out at the end of October. I don’t have that yet so I intend to tell my children that is what they can get me for Christmas!

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I’m not under any illusions about it resaw. WB actually owns the show and rights, so if further content ever does happen its largely their call as to who does what. But I would mention that Fedak has pointedly said, many times, that he is done with Chuck and the future is in other hands (“Chuck vs the Future” on S5 disc sets for one; but I heard him say that in at least two other interviews).

      If I had to guess, I would say the driving force for any future content would have to be Zach. If he is ever interested he would probably Executive Produce and hire the writers. I would be very happy if he could get Kristen Newman or the LaJudkins team.
      But obviously, this is all wild speculation.

      • Robert says:

        Lastly, if Fedak doesn’t wanna write the script, i’m totally ok with LeJudkins or even Ali Adler to tackle it. Does anyone remember which writer was good with action scenes?

      • atcDave says:

        It can hard to know with such a large writing staff exactly who does what. But I have heard it said in interviews that Fedak himself was responsible for a lot of the more creative action sequences whether he was the lead writer on an episode or not. Those action sequences are expensive too, and given how poorly Chuck finished in the ratings, I’m prepared to accept the idea that a reunion project would likely not have the same sort of action we were so often treated to.

  16. Robert says:

    If Fedak said he’s done with “Chuck”…although I’m pretty sure he would keep a kind of ‘overseer’ position if a tv movie is ever made. And I totally agree that the driving force behind a reunion will be Zach Levi. I’m pretty sure that everyone will ge happy to play their characters again, but they have some trouble with schedules, especially with Yvonne Strahovski’s.

    • atcDave says:

      No doubt that for now Yvonne’s schedule is the most hectic. And she may be a big sticking point; I think, her and Zach are the only essential elements, yet she is a very busy, very active actor. And if she becomes involved in something very time consuming it may make a reunion project impossible. Obviously that’s true for Zach too, but for now he seems to be less busy.
      With Fedak and Schwartz I don’t know exactly what sort of ownership rights and veto power they might have. I know WB owns the property, but of course other parties can be involved too. But Fedak did seem clear he was done with Chuck, and yet he seemed to like the idea of someone else taking it up some day. So my guess is that he would not be much of an obstacle to someone else taking the helm. It is always possible, especially if he is not busy with other work when the time comes, that he may be more involved than just signing off on it. But for now I don’t believe that’s probable. The more time passes, the more variables to add in. But I’ve seen reunion projects done with the original writers, producers and directors; and I’ve seen them done with completely new people involved. And the results can be good or bad either way. But I think the most common thing is for one of the starring actors to take charge (of the project itself, not necessarily writing or directing) and with Zach’s deep interest in the industry we are in a very good place for such a thing to happen.

      • Robert says:

        Yeah, I agree with what you say.

        But IF (and that’s a big IF) there’s a “Chuck” reunion project, we’re talking of years, not months, here. One example comes to mind; the Dukes of Hazzard reunion; the series ended in 1985, and the reunion was in 1997. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Chuck reunion would happen in those inklings, like 7 to 10 years later, and that would bring us around 2020. And at that point, would there still be an interest for “Chuck”, from the fans, or, more importantly, the actors? I don’t know why, but I can’t rid myself of the feeling that if one of the cast members is going to be an obstacle to a reunion, it’s gonna be Yvonne; especially if her career is blooming.

        The more time passes, the less likely it is to happen. And, as much as I would love to see one last adventure with the Bartowski, on the other hand, I’m very happy with what we’ve got.

        Another thing; if they bring new writers for the movie, will they be as respectful of what happened in the series, or will they go the dramatic way, with Chuck and Sarah separated, that kind of stuff? That’s why I really hope that if there is a reunion happening in the future, that it will be written with writers from the show, and I also really hope that Zach and Yvonne will have a veto and/or have the right to check the script, something that will be very important for them, considering what they said (or didn’t say) about the Finale…

        Yvonne made an interesting comment in a recent “Dexter” interview; she said that one of the things she really liked with the “Dexter” director was that he was really considering and listening to her input about the show, and her character, even to the point of modifying the script, something that clearly was contrasting with her earlier jobs, something big enough for her to mention?

        I think it will be i

      • Robert says:

        I think it will be it will be interesting to see who’s the most enthusiastic about the said project, and who won’t be as interested. But like you said, Zach and Yvonne are the key players; without them, no reunion.

      • joe says:

        Great discussion, everyone.

        Let my ask you this. What if there was a reunion, but it was many years down the line. Say, 20, just for the sake of argument; a real “Chuck, the Next Generation” project. It wouldn’t be Chuck and Sarah so much, but about their kids.

        BUT (Big But!) it started off with Zac and Yvonne doing cameos to launch the show. Would you watch? I would in a heartbeat, so long as they were on screen, even for a moment.

        But much like the show Tabitha (with Lisa Hartman, a supposed follow-on to the much better Bewitched), I doubt that I would stick with it. My own reaction tells me that there would be a great interest in a Chuck reunion show for a long time, enough so that the money-managers will eventually take advantage of that.

        It’s also long enough so that scheduling problems are easily taken into account. We may need to have a lot of patience, though.

      • atcDave says:

        Ultimately Joe it would come down to the quality of the product. But of course I would watch the situation you described without even thinking twice! At this point, the whole appeal in any future project is just seeing Chuck and Sarah again. And of course that means Zach and Yvonne. If the cameos were reduced my enthusiasm would be less too, at least as I feel now. If they recapture that feeling of fun, family, and adventure that I found so intoxicating with Chuck I would likely get just as hooked as I was with the original.
        I do agree a Chuck reunion project is a long term dream. I doubt anyone would even think about it for 3-4 years. But longer term, 5-10+ years from now, I can easily see execs thinking “Chuck sure had a crazy loyal fan base; I wonder if we could get a movie or two out of that franchise?” I know Zach has voiced a different, and very appealing plan of doing a webcast Chuck movie every year. I love the idea, but I’m 99% sure its a pipe dream. Unless someone comes up with a plan for money it will never happen.

        My follow up question would be; how interested would any of us be in another Zach and Yvonne project that wasn’t Chuck? A romantic comedy seems the obvious way to go. I am actually a little surprised thinking about how appealing the idea is to me. Although the usual qualifications apply, I’m looking for something light hearted and fun, not Dexter.

        Then the opposite twist; what if 20 years from now someone chooses to do a new Chuck series or movie with the leads recast ?(also starring Yvonne Strahovski as General Beckman… kidding, I meant all new players). That is really not very appealing to me. I’m thinking the casting and chemistry of our show is a huge part of its appeal for me.

      • joe says:

        And on that note, I want to pass along this link to YS_Fangirls, one that Yvonne herself noted in a tweet this morning. It’s a new Dexter promo.

        And right after, the embedded Yahoo vid player will show a number of related links. I clicked on an 8 min. interview with Yvonne and Michael Hall (the show’s star) and found it interesting. She notes (without judgment) how the mood (I’m not sure that’s the right word. Maybe ‘atmosphere’ is better) is different on the sets of Chuck and Dexter.

        I wonder if she knows how much her fans love that big, broad smile and laugh she has, the one she flashes on occasion in interviews. [I’m Joe Buckley and I approve this comment!]

      • ArmySFC says:

        Joe, she also did an interview a while back on IGN (i think) saying how different the filming was. on dexter they make sure the continuity is good and the scenes are tight, pausing often to get the small details right. compared to chuck where it was just go, go go and get it done not paying much attention to the small stuff. she did it nicely of course.

      • jam says:

        “My follow up question would be; how interested would any of us be in another Zach and Yvonne project that wasn’t Chuck? A romantic comedy seems the obvious way to go. ”

        I’d guess the actors themselves wouldn’t be too enthusiastic about it, for professional reasons. People would expect to see Chuck and Sarah, and they probably want to steer away from that unless it’s for a Chuck reunion.

        What comes to a possible Chuck reunion, my feelings are pretty mixed. I’m quite sure that if it ever happens, the first thing we’re going learn is that Chuck and Sarah went their separate ways after the finale. I know it doesn’t make any sense given what we saw on the show, but it seems like the typical lazy approach we could expect from the show creators… they’d think it would be nice drama. That’s not something I’d want to see after struggling with the ending, trying to accept it in its inadequateness.

      • atcDave says:

        Jam I suspect you are right that the actors would seek more variety in their projects, for now. But historically a lot of very big name actors have paired with favorite co-workers many, many times. From old classics like William Powell and Myrna Loy to more recent teams like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Granted it is less common than it was in the studio era, but it does still happen.
        Again, I think you are probably correct, but stranger things have happened.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree Dave. In Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail they played essentially the same characters. I really do think Zach and Yvonne like each other and would love, after a time apart, to work together again. Personally I’d love a good romcom from them. But I do think Yvonne is going to explore lots of genre’s before she goes back to playing someone like Sarah Walker. Hell just that one word and one look in the Dexter promo and you know that is NOT Sarah Walker. That’s what I liked about her performance in Killer Elite, not a great movie but she made me easily believe that she was Anne and not Sarah. She I believe is going to try not to be type cast. I think that is part of why she is headed to Broadway. It’s a challenge and I’ applaud her for it. But I do hope one day she and Zach work together in a romcom. That kind of chemistry is rare and we need to see more of it.

      • joe says:

        You guys are blowing me away with the discussion today. I’m sorry I’ve been away from my PC.

        It’s a very peculiar thing. I love Myrna Loy and Bill Powell in the Thin Man movies, and I understand that they were very popular. I happen to see a movie made later in which they both appeared (and I see that the marquees and news at the time was all about “Loy and Powell are back together again!” in big bold letters). But they appeared only at the end, in little more than a cameo, in unnamed characters that were only supposed to make you think of the Charleses (the original Charleses, you know). Clearly, it was the studio trying to cash in more on their popularity as Nick an Nora, a popularity generated by half a dozen Thin Man movies together. The movie was otherwise unremarkable and a failure.

        I don’t think anyone wanted to see them together as anyone else, or could, for that matter, and the studio knew it.

        It was a little different than Hanks and Ryan making a completely different movies together. I mean, no one cared what they were named, or that they were playing different characters in yet another Nora Ephron romcom. There just wasn’t enough of a back story to make the dis-continuity unacceptable.

        My own opinion is that we’ve already had the equivalent of many full length features with Chuck and Sarah and the rest. I’ll enjoy seeing them in other vehicles. But when they’re together, I won’t be able to see anyone else but the characters we know.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe, Powell and Loy were in like 15 movies together. There’s an entire DVD set of their non-Thin Man movies. They were a team both before and after Thin Man.

        Now again, I do believe they will likely head totally separate directions professionally, and if they ever do work together again it will be either a Chuck project, or something Zach is directing. But I would love to see them together in another capacity, even if it is an extreme long shot.

      • thinkling says:

        Is no one going to mention the Hepburn/Tracy pairing? They were more the Hanks/Ryan type of on screen couple, making lots of films together, but not reprising the same roles, as Powell/Loy did in the Thin Man series. Does anybody know which male/female pair made the most movies together? Just curious.

      • atcDave says:

        Maybe I asked it wrong, but google doesn’t seem to be able to answer that question Thinkling! But interestingly, the first coupling it does bring up is Powell/Loy who it describes as “one of” Hollywood’s most prolific couples. And I was wrong before, it says they made 14 movies together.

      • Mel says:

        I don’t really believe that we will see Zac and Yvonne co-starring again unless it’s on Chuck, but I always thought they would be perfect together as Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman.

      • joe says:

        That would be so cool, Mel.

        But if I remember my Fantastic Four correctly (and granted, it’s been a looooooong time), Sue Richards (the invisible woman, right?) was more than a bit of a shrinking violet; hence, the “invisible” woman. (Yeah, Johnny was a hot head, so FLAME ON!!!)

        It’s probably not beyond Yvonne’s talents to do shy, but if she’s standing next to Zac, I’ll have a hard time not seeing Sarah, who is no shrinking violet! 😉

        Not that I wouldn’t pay to see it, mind you…

      • Mel says:

        Sue Richards, Sue Storm before she married Mr. Fantastic.

        And sure, she was like that when the character was originally created, but that was 51 years ago. There weren’t too many strong female characters in comics at that time, superheroes or not. These days the character is nothing like that, and the origin story of the Fantastic Four has been updated who knows how many times since then.

      • joe says:

        51 years ago? Say it ain’t so, Mel! 😉

        Guess I’ll have to give up the simple paradigm, then, with Reed a wise guy, Ben an ugly brute… (sniff). Comic book super heroes just can’t stay innocent forever, I suppose.

      • Jerry Kane says:

        I’ve actually been thinking a bit on how I’d like to see the Zachary-Yvonne tandem next. In my case, I’d rather that their next tandem have them be characters that are manifestly not Chuck and Sarah. I would think that even if their characters are diametrically apart from Chuck and Sarah, the two of them have sufficient spark to make it work. I’d like to see a post-finale incarnation of Chuck too, but only after they try playing different characters.

      • uplink2 says:

        God I wish my mother didn’t throw out my copies of those original issues. Fantastic Four was my favorite as a kid. I Had FF and Spiderman issues #1. Too bad the movie stunk. I’d have love to see that franchise take off like Spiderman did till they ruined it this year.

      • jam says:

        I hope by original issue #1 you mean some re-launch of the comic, or a reprint. The actual FF #1 is worth a lot if it’s in good condition. 😉

        http://collectibles.about.com/od/comicsspecialtyauctions/ss/comicprices1007_6.htm

        Amazing Fantasy #15 (where Spider-Man appeared for the first time) once sold for over a million dollars.

      • uplink2 says:

        No unfortunately I’m talking about the real first issue from 1961. I was 8 years old then and if I remember it was about the launch into space and how the Van Allen radiation belts affected them. So yeah if I still had it, it would be a nice inheritance for my kids lol.

  17. Robert says:

    Interesting idea, Joe.

    I would certainly watch a “Chuck; the Next Generation” show, if the casting is as inspired and lovely than the original. Would LOVE to see Zach and Yvonne doing some cameos as Chuck and Sarah.

    Dave, if they are redoing a Chuck series with new actors, well, like Casey said once: “Just to make it clear; not interested”. Zach is Chuck, Yvonne is Sarah; no one else, as talented as they may be, will do.

    As for a new show with Zach and Yvonne a a couple (but not Chuck), I think it’s too soon. And in one way of another, it would suffer from comparisons with Chuck.

    Zach’s idea of a Chuck webmovie is interesting, but it suffers from one flaw; the uncertainty of its funding. And even if Zach is rich compared to me, he’s not THAT rich in the sense that he can’t pay for a movie all by himself. So, uncertainty.

    And if there is a Chuck “something”, I want it to be about Chuck and Sarah, not their kids…though their kids are welcome to appear. I would certainly love to watch a “Chuck, ten years later” kind of series!

    And I do hope that if there is a “Chuck” reunion, they will recapture that Season 5 vibe between Chuck and Sarah that was soo nice to watch!

  18. Robert says:

    About Yvonne’s smile and laugh, like Chuck and Morgan said together in 1.01: “Yeaaaah.”

    As for her playing in Dexter, of course, I wish her the best, and I hope she will finally win that Emmy she didn’t win because she wasn’t in a huge hit (by Hollywood standards).

    BUT, let’s just say that Dexter is not the kind of show I watch. And I won’t watch, even if Yvonne is in it, and that I’m sure she will do a great job.

    On that show, I will follow her from afar.

    • Kind of in the same boat. I don’t like the show at all, but I’ll watch anything with the Chuck cast in it. It’s weirdly hard to see her in a different roll.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m exactly with you there Robert. Best wishes to her, but I have no interest in Dexter.

    • uplink2 says:

      I love the show. Been a fan since season 2 and I am really stoked for Yvonne to be on it. It is some of the best acting and writing on TV. Now the subject matter may not be for everyone but the fact that they can have such a strong fiollowing both from the fans and the critics shows how good it really is. Season 4 of Dexter will go down for me as some of the best TV ever. I hope season 7 approaches that level.

      • Robert says:

        That’s precisely what I meant; the quality of the Dexter show is not in question; it’s the subject. Even if i’m sure Yvonne Strahovski will do a great job in it, I am not interested to watch a show about serial killers, I don’t find it entertaining.

        But to each his own!

  19. atcDave says:

    Another aside, we were talking not too long ago here about the original “built in” love triangle that was going to be on Chuck with the character Kayla. That character was dumped and cut from the Pilot when it was realized Zach and Yvonne had such good chemistry that the extra character was an unneeded distraction (gee I wish they’d remembered that two seasons later…).
    So my wife and I have been re-watching Remington Steele recently. At the start of the show, Laura has a partner, Murphy, at her detective agency. They aren’t a couple, but it’s clearly through no lack of trying on Murphy’s part. Then of course Remington Steele shows up and turns everything on end, much to Murphy’s constant frustration. As I understand it, the original idea was that Laura and Murphy would usually be partnered for the cases while Remington caused chaos in the office and behind the scenes. But the writers realized quickly that Laura and Remington had great screen chemistry, Laura and Murphy not so much (he came across kind of like a pathetic looser); so Murphy’s part shrank quickly to irrelevance. He was written out of the show entirely at the start of S2.
    But it all makes me so glad the Kayla character was recognized as extraneous quickly and removed. Although I strongly suspect she would have been gone by the end of S1 regardless.

    • Robert says:

      Could you imagine how Sarah would’ve reacted, considering what she did with Lou and Jill? Kayla wouldn’t have lasted long, especially considering how bad Kayla was treating Chuck (read original script of the Pilot); Sarah would’ve scared her away for hurting “her” Chuck.

    • uplink2 says:

      Interesting. I just read that script and it really is a different feel for a few of the characters like Sarah, Casey and Kayla was just unnecessary angst. It is amazing how the chemistry is evident with Zach and Yvonne so soon. It’s basically immediate.

      Speaking of chemistry I saw some reviews for Beauty and the Beast, Kristin Kruek’s new show complaining about no chemistry between the leads. Even though I hated the Hannah storyline, there was some chemistry there unlike Shaw and Sarah where there was none. Speaking of Shaw looks like Routh’s new show will be the first one cancelled by CBS this season. I never intended to watch but Mo Ryan’s review gave the same “wooden acting” line about Routh in that one too.

    • aerox says:

      I’ve read multiple times that the reason Kayla was removed was because Schwartz and Fedak thought it was illogical that a character that they’ve created to be a nerd, would be pined after/chased by two beautiful women (in this case, Sarah and Kayla).

      • anthropocene says:

        They may have created Chuck as a nerd—but the backstory they gave him, and his interactions with Sarah right from the Pilot onward—show that they did not buy into the Hollywood stereotype that being a nerd necessarily equates to total and chronic failure at relationships. The Pilot Chuck’s introversion and self-doubt had much more to do with his serial abandonment or betrayal by mother, father, best friend, and girlfriend than his nerdy interests and behaviors. One of the things I liked best about “Chuck” was how Sarah recognized the diamond in the rough right away, and how Chuck himself (often inspired by Sarah or Casey) continually pushed against the nerd stereotype with his concern for the well-being of others, his leadership, his unconventional heroism, and his sense of humor. He was a much more authentic nerd than television usually gives us.

      • atcDave says:

        Agree with all of that Anthro, some moments like how he learned the Tango, and then dealt with his error in what he learned really set him apart from the beginning. I always call him an alpha nerd; he was the sort we nerds can look up to and even wish to be. They broke that model on occasion in later seasons (Curse comes to mind), but I still tended to see it that way.

      • Anthro, I mostly agree with that, and it’s one of the many really cool things about this show. However, I think Chuck, especially in the beginning, suffers from self-esteem issues, like most nerds (“Because I live on planet Earth, Morgan”). The story of Chuck is largely the story of Chuck overcoming such limitations.

        Of course, a lot of it is Zach Levi just being awesome. I’m astonished he hasn’t starred in a chick flick yet.

      • aerox says:

        I’m just saying what I read 😀 Whether or not it’s applicable is of no concern to me.

      • uplink2 says:

        I don’t think we will ever know for sure unless we can find actual quotes but reading the original script it just seemed like she was unnecessary angst. It was piling on that he was insignificant not because he was nerdy just that he didn’t matter. We know they cast the part and she was part of the official photoshoot. But I thought I heard they shot her scenes and she was cut during editing, especially once they saw clearly on screen the chemistry between Zac and Yvonne.

      • aerox says:

        “The Kayla Hart character was dropped before filming because creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz found it unlikely and too complicated to the storyline that two women would be pining over Chuck.”

        Taken from Wikipedia, and reiterated on the Chuck Wiki but neither list a source, so whether or not this is the real reason remains to be seen.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ve definitely seen other interviews on the subject where the Zach/Yvonne chemistry was addressed as part of why Kayla was dumped. But no luck with google, I couldn’t say where I saw it.
        In the end it doesn’t matter why. I’m thankful she was recognized as unnecessary for whatever reason.

      • anthropocene says:

        A shame they couldn’t find another role later on for Natalie Martinez though….

  20. ChuckFanForever says:

    Had some time on the weekend to rewatch some Chuck and I watched the few episodes leading up to and including this one. Noticed that Sarah was angry at Bryce after the first kiss (even though she clearly is participating and of course that’s the part Chuck sees only), however when she is escorting Bryce to the CIA, it seems Sarah is about to initiate a kiss with Bryce before Fulcrum interrupts (is this the only time an interruption of an intimate moment goes for Team Charah, instead of against?). Poor Chuck, he’s clearly getting mixed messages from his cover gf, one moment saying there is no chance of anything real between them, the next kissing him into oblivion, only to have her ex come back into the picture to complicate things even more!

    • joe says:

      Yeah. I keep coming back to the idea that, although we know how Sarah feels about Chuck from the beginning, he doesn’t. Worse for him, he’s also the insecure type. Between Bryce and Cole and James Bond, it’s not surprising that he could never quite believe what his eyes – and Sarah – were telling him.

      And of course, Sarah wasn’t particularly good at expressing herself about relationships.

      But, patience! Colonel is coming. And then, Honeymooners. Ain’t it good to know it all works out? 😉

  21. First Impression says:

    That was quite an eventful Thanksgiving for the group. One thing that grated was how Bryce was so cocky, arrogant and not empathetic in the least. First he used Chuck to escape, used Chuck to store the Intersect (“I was right,” he said when he realized Chuck could recall the images), he disrespected Chuck living with his sister and not living his dream, and used Chuck to get to Sarah. It seemed endless. And although I didn’t like it, I can’t fault Bryce for kissing Sarah or for trying to keep her with him since he had no idea that Chuck was in love with Sarah.

    Perhaps when Morgan told Bryce how rotten Bryce had been to a Chuck, he might have gotten a clue. He did tell Chuck that he didn’t mean to offend about Ellie and noted that he had only one friend to Chuck’s many friends. So who does Bryce consider his ONE friend?

    Even with Chuck hitting the Bryce Wall, they are able to work together using the Klingon language, much like Sarah and Carina used Polish in The Wookie. Interesting that each one gets shot in this episode. I was a little surprised that Sarah seemed shocked Chuck was wearing a vest, as I thought she would plan for that. I did like that in the next scene where the two guys are standing there looking at her, she looks at each one and walks around them both.

    Bryce says to Sarah, “We’ll always have Omaha.” That was the project that Bryce mentioned in the meeting with the professor at Stanford – the project that he thought Chuck wouldn’t survive. Hmm. Chuck and Sarah would have met 5 years earlier.

    So now I have pineapple, Fulcrum and Sand Wall in my vocabulary. But I have one more question. Why did Bryce say “It’s hard to say goodbye” when he destroyed the Intersect and when he told Chuck to tell Sarah “It’s hard to say goodbye”?

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah this sure is a mythology heavy episode! Bryce is always a mixed bag. He is both loved and hated by fans. I guess he does count as a hero; but a smug, cocky sort; much less admirable than Chuck or Sarah.
      I’m pretty sure Bryce means to say Chuck is his one true friend. Too bad he doesn’t really know how to be a friend himself!
      I think “its hard to say goodbye” is just sort of Bryce’s thing. Maybe his excuse for never explaining himself or keeping in touch!

      • First Impression says:

        Thanks Dave! That sounds reasonable to me too.

      • thinkling says:

        It struck me as I read your comments how Bryce’s statement, about Chuck having many friends to his one, is an early example of the issue that resurfaced our other rewatch this week: Business Trip. Bryce may have derailed Chuck’s career, but because of it, Chuck still had a normal life and friends … something Bryce, and spies in general, no longer had … something Sarah never had, until Chuck. And that, of course, was the very subject of her toast in BT. Cool.

      • atcDave says:

        Uh yeah! Nice symmetry that…

      • joe says:

        Yeah – and great catch too, Thinkling. It’s a consistant theme throughout, but an easy one to overlook.

        FI, I suspect Bryce’s confident arrogence was meant to be a contrast with Chuck’s timidity. He was the guy making $11.50 an hour at the Buy More and afraid to attend his own party just a couple of weeks earlier.

        Didn’t “We’ll always have Omaha” come up again in S2, perhaps in The Ring? I’m sure it did somewhere, but I can’t think of where it might have been.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m pretty sure its never mentioned again. We’ll get a little explanation of what Orion thought of Bryce in Ring; and a mention of Bryce and Sarah’s first mission in First Class. And that’s all I can think of.

      • revdr says:

        It wasn’t just that Bryce had only one person her considered a friend. If you look at it in a broader sense, Bryce was the male Sarah. He had real non-spy feelings for her, and he could clearly see her slipping away from him. Being a spy was all that he knew as well. Bryce seemed cocky and very insulting to Chuck, but in reality, he was envious that Chuck not only had family and friends, but was clearly building something special with Sarah, and not just in the context of building a team. His being jealous wasn’t as evident in Nemesis, but by Break Up he surely knew the she was lost to him. It’s as though the worm had turned, and by The Ring, I actually felt kind of bad for him when he finally accepted that Sarah was in love with Chuck. Chuck always considered Bryce the millstone around his neck, but I think that Bryce felt the same about Chuck, because he had everything that Bryce would never have.

      • joe says:

        That so very true, Rev. Bryce and Sarah were the perfect couple, and every one of them knew it. The romantic tension we saw watching Chuck and Sarah trying to overcome that in S1 and S2 was simply amazing.

        And the greatest failing of S3 may be in having Shaw try to fill the roll Bryce had in Sarah’s life. I can’t say I fully understand how S3 would have played out if Bomer hadn’t left for his own show, but I’m sure that the same romantic tension would have been THE major story line. I’m guessing it would have been glorious!

      • atcDave says:

        Well I’m not sure about “glorious”, but it might have been less like character assassination!
        Back when we were doing the S3 Alternatives posts NinjaVanish contributed his idea on it with Bryce more in the role of friend, confidante and rival; I thought that worked quite nicely.

      • anthropocene says:

        When Bryce told Chuck, “I knew Sarah would find you,” I forgave him for all his prior transgressions right then and there.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah but I don’t think he ever expected to lose her to Chuck in quite the way he did!

      • thinkling says:

        I’ve always thought that even Shaw in that type of role (friend and mentor to Chuck and Sarah and good team player) would have worked much better. No LI. Then he would have been a tragic villain, instead of someone we hated all along.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah, absolutely.

        Of Shaw, as a new character, could have worked just as well at the opposite extreme; let him the total fool and idiot. As long as the whole team recognizes him as the idiot. I like the idea of the team always having to go against orders to actually get the job done,many then Shaw getting all the credit.

        I’m sure there’s other variations too, all with that big pre-condition of no LI!

  22. revdr says:

    I would hope that there would have been no reason for any more triangle situations in S3, since Sarah had clearly made her choice in Ring. But Bryce as a mentor to Chuck could have been fun to watch since there was so much that was unresolved between the two of them. Because, even though Bryce revealed that he was protecting him at Stanford, he still sent him the intersect, once again changing the course of his life. It would have been interesting to see that dynamic in play….

  23. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Nemesis (1.10) | Chuck This

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s