Chuck vs The Fat Lady (2.07)

This is the mid-point of the Jill arc, and one of those episodes that I think has held up very well with time.  Chuck and Jill seem to be happily reunited; so naturally, Yvonne/Sarah owns this episode.  We see Sarah trying hard to maintain professional composure and be happy for Chuck, all while obviously seething underneath.  And of course Casey can’t help but rub it in.  After the jump, we’ll take a look at “Fat Lady”.

Well I still don’t care for the love triangle trope, but all things considered this is a pretty good episode.  Once again that mainly means Sarah/Yvonne is dynamite.  Just a wonderful performance, so much feeling expressed in looks and mannerisms.  We know at this point Sarah is pretty hopelessly compromised, she even admits as much in her warning/threat to Jill after the concert hall rescue.  Yet we also know she is some months away from really facing up to it (her v-log entry).  So she is conflicted all the way through.

And I’m just gonna turn this over to Joe…

~ Dave

———–

The Opera Ain’t Over

Let me recap briefly. Jill is back, the girl who broke Chuck’s heart and slept with his best friend. Chuck also appears to have won her over by being a hero. Sarah’s not sure she likes that.

Oh wait. She’s sure. She doesn’t. Not one bit.

Chuck moves it along nicely, the relationship with Jill, starting with a romantic picnic on the Buy More roof. That’s not very Chuck-like. This is the guy who used to be rather dweebish around girls, you recall. Maybe being around Sarah has actually taught him something about how to impress the women, or maybe Chuck is just feeling his Intersect-enhanced oats.

Of course, being a CIA agent impresses women too. Both Casey and Sarah know that. If Sarah’s super-computer boyfriend is trying to browse someone else’s network, now she has to let it slide (because she’s “just his cover girlfriend”). That can’t sit right with Sarah, can it?

The late Guy LaFleur happened to have a list of Fulcrum agents hidden away. It may still be in his hotel room. Chuck gets to play spy again and impress Jill some more. The best Sarah can do is interrupt him as he’s running off to Jill, asking “Is everything all right?” It’s a “friend thing,” she says. Sure it is. If that’s not sitting right with Sarah, she’ll make it be alright the best she can.

After all, Chuck seems really happy, and really happy with Jill. He’s got his old life back, and it’s not so bad. Jill knows the real him. Doesn’t Sarah? Sure, but Sarah’s off limits, by mutual agreement.

And that’s where we are at the beginning of Chuck vs. The Fat Lady. Chuck’s not pining away helplessly for the girl he can’t have this time. He’s actually striking out on his own path, being, as Morgan put it, everything we knew he could be.

And that may not be such a bad thing, but we’ll get back to that.

In the “B” plot, Morgan is excited. The post office has just delivered the Q-36 game copier, “Canada’s most delightful gift since Shania Twain.” Free entertainment! Highly illegal! Emmett bait. It also becomes integral to the adventure that Jill, Casey, Sarah and Chuck are about to have.

And this adventure looks as if it starts with a bang, or at least, a “Hi-oh!” from Chuck and a wink from Sarah.

I just realized that I’ve only described the beginning of the episode, right up to the title credits, and I’m laughing already. There are so many stand-out scenes, lines and performances (case in point – Tony Hale’s Emmett is on a role as he brings into question Chuck’s patriotism to Buymoria) that I could spend all day recounting them.

Morgan’s excitement over the arrival of the Q-36 game card, Casey’s history as a choir-boy, Jill’s microbiology background teaming with Chuck’s puzzle-solving; there is so much here that just fits together, like a puzzle.

Did you realize that there are at least three mysteries going on at once? I count; who killed LaFleur, the scavenger hunt for the encrypted key and what is Sarah going to do about her feelings for Chuck when faced with a rival. To make all that work, the episode has to be very tight, without a wasted word, and that stands out for me in Chuck vs. The Fat Lady.

Rather than recount all that in detail, I’ll cut to the chase. The assassin destroys the data drive containing the list of Fulcrum agents and escapes, but Chuck has saved Jill. She’s appropriately impressed. Sarah looks more depressed and makes her decision to let let go.

Jill: Thank you for saving my life. I’m sorry for not trusting you with Chuck.
Sarah: You wanna pay me back? Don’t hurt him again.
Jill: I won’t. I wouldn’t. I care about Chuck.
Sarah: Me too. It’s my job to protect him. From anything.

But that’s not completely letting go, is it? Sarah’s not threatening Jill; she’s backing away. As Casey Stengel famously said, it’s not over until the Fat Lady sings.

Casey’s another story. Since he can’t shoot him, Casey wants to arrest Chuck for turning over the data, giving classified intel to the enemy and being a traitor to his country. But Chuck’s not that stupid. He used Morgan’s game copier to make a copy for himself. Heh! Casey should have trusted Chuck.

We should have trusted Morgan, too. He may have half-ratted out Chuck to Emmett, but he also sabotages Emmett’s attempts to become Buymoria’s dictator. Viva Buymoria! All this is classic Chuck, the kind of hilarious interactions we see in every strong episode. Here we have more.

It’s those last two minutes of the episode; the last scene blows me away every time I see it. With very little dialog, Casey and Sarah finish decrypting the data and start to review the list of Fulcrum agents. Jill and Chuck are making out (as privately as they can) in his room. We’re horrified to see Jill’s picture come up on the list of Fulcrum agents.

Wordlessly (like they are in shock), with the amazing Keep Yourself Warm by Frightened Rabbit playing in the background and in slow motion, a startled and panicked Casey and Sarah rush up the stares and then to his room to save Chuck from Jill. He’s gone. They’re gone. “You won’t find love in a hole.”

You can’t overestimate it’s importance. By leaving behind his signal-watch, Chuck has broken his lifeline to Sarah. He’s firmly in Jill’s clutches, and our trusting hero is once again without a clue.


That was the best three minutes of TV I had seen anywhere. Oh, I know that better is coming, now. But this last scene was series-TV at it’s best.

– joe

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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.
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113 Responses to Chuck vs The Fat Lady (2.07)

  1. Such a great episode. One of the best closing montages of the series. Sets up a powerful cliff hanger.

    Only to squander all that wonderful tension away within mere minutes of the next episode. The first most noticeable squandering of a story setup, but sadly, not the last time such missed opportunities would occur. It almost became a show trademark as the series went on.

    • joe says:

      Yeah, I know what you mean. They put Chuck in complete jeopardy and treacherous situations at the end of one episode only to get him out of that spot trivially at the start of the next. It is their trademark. 😉

      But honestly, Lou, Chuck wasn’t the only show to use that technique. Right? I think it’s the cliff-hanger chapter in the TV Show Making textbook used in “Entertainment 101.” I know I’m easy, but I don’t mark them down too hard for that one.

      • Make this episode the lead in to Phase 3 and Wow! Wow! Wow! what a one-two combo that could have been.

        Not interested in what other shows did Joe. Only in shows that meant something to me like Chuck so your waving it away because other shows did it, does not fly for me. Sorry Joe.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m just as glad they got it over with. And I like Gravitron even better than Fat Lady, this is easily my favorite (? Or least disliked?) of the triangle stories.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      OD, Much as I appreciate you coming around to keep reminding us of all the ways the show failed to live up to your standards a kidnapping doesn’t fit the Jill story. The reveal shows us that what Jill has been doing in a new context. What looked like jealousy and a girlfriend protecting her turf was actually Jill doing her best to pry Chuck away from Sarah’s control, to make him trust her above anyone else and to act the way she wanted. Having manipulated her way into Chuck’s base under the pretext of helping the team she was able to see what was going on down there and plan with Fulcrum a way to get Chuck to hand over Guy’s intel on Fulcrum. Then plan (next week) a way to take over the base and access CIA intel on the intersect, Bryce Larkin. Kidnapping Chuck makes no sense since they don’t know he’s the intersect. In Fulcrum’s view he’s more valuable to them as a mark to give Jill a way to infiltrate the team and gain access to what the team is doing and eventually to help take over the base.

      Thematically the end scene sets up the next episode perfectly. We see that Jill has pulled Chuck away from his team and his trust in her puts him and the team in danger. That is played out as the main theme in Gravitron, which I’d remind everyone has Chuck in danger pretty much the whole episode because he’s got a blind spot when it comes to Jill. The knowledge that Jill is Fulcrum is the beginning of the danger for Chuck, not the end. This episode starts with Chuck thinking he can take a break from the spy-life and have something of his old life back. The next starts with Chuck learning that life wasn’t what he thought it was and concludes with Chuck learning the hard way how much Jill changed and how she wasn’t the woman he’d fallen in love with, finally giving him closure on that chapter of his life.

      I guess I understand people liking certain aspects of the show and wishing they were more prominent or explored further, but frankly The Chuck team never took the show as seriously as a lot of us did. It isn’t 24 or Alias and never aspired to be. By their own statements it is obvious they wanted a fun show that moved at a brisk pace and went for the emotional response rather than getting bogged down in the complexities or explore every nuance of every possible plot point. It’s a creative choice, and while granted, not to some people’s taste or liking, it is a valid one. I personally liked that they didn’t always go with the predictable. The fact that they didn’t flog the “Oh no Chuck is off the grid and in danger” angle for an entire episode in no way lessens the impact of that scene or my enjoyment of that particular cliffhanger.

      • authorguy says:

        Quite right. At no point did they know he was the Intersect so there was no point in a kidnapping plot. Jill was for Fulcrum what Sarah was supposed to be for the CIA, a handler, and she did a much better job at not letting her emotions get in the way.

      • Robert says:

        WORD! I totally agree with you, Ernie. Couldn’t have said better myself!

      • atcDave says:

        Very well put Ernie, thank you! A huge part of the appeal of Chuck to me, was that it was fun first and foremost. There are plenty of other shows out there for folks who want more convoluted or dramatic stories.

      • Thanks Ernie.

        Have to disagree with your assessment of how this episode creatively decided to proceed into the next one though.

        Don’t see how pursuing a Chuck has been kidnapped story line, when it has been beautifully setup, qualifies as convoluted, complex, getting bogged down or even flogging but do agree it is a creative choice to which our reactions to it subjectively differ.

        The issue with their creative choice is that if a story point is not going pursued and is used to setup emotional responses only with no payoff it retroactively diminishes that moment. Which is what happens with the end of this episode because it leads to nothing.

        It’s setup with no payoff and I find that sad. And a cheap trick.

        Also, being predictable is not always a bad thing. Especially when the rewards can be so great in terms of emotional response. Definitely greater than what we ended up getting in the Gravitron episode.

      • atcDave says:

        Lou a big part of what worked about Gravitron for me was the Chuck/Sarah interactions. That was always a favorite part of the show for me. So while we would later see (in Phase Three) that a Chuck kidnapped story could work very well, I was also very pleased with the scope of Chuck/Sarah interaction that we got in Gravitron. Several just dynamite scenes, and I wouldn’t ever trade those for a more developed spy story.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jill’s actions in this episode and then kidnapping Chuck in the next would make no sense, so I’d contend that a kidnapping story hasn’t been set up. If we accept her manipulation in this episode was to gain access to intel and the team then why would she throw that away for kidnapping an analyst, even a very talented or important one? It doesn’t make sense. It makes more sense for her manipulation to continue and for that to be the source of danger for Chuck and the team. Besides, by my count Chuck has been kidnapped or held hostage with and without various others in episodes 1.02, 1.03, 1.06, 1.10, 1.12, 1.13, 2.01, 2.08, 2.09, 2.11, 2.13, 2.15, 2.17, 2.18, 2.19, 2.20, 3.01, 3.09, 3.16, 3.19, 4.02, 4.05, 4.06, 4.07, 4.08, 4.09, 4.10, 4.14, 4.17, 4.24, 5.02, 5.06, 5.10 and 5.11.

        I think they got it covered.

      • resaw says:

        Ernie Davis says: The reveal shows us that what Jill has been doing in a new context. What looked like jealousy and a girlfriend protecting her turf was actually Jill doing her best to pry Chuck away from Sarah’s control, to make him trust her above anyone else and to act the way she wanted. Having manipulated her way into Chuck’s base under the pretext of helping the team she was able to see what was going on down there and plan with Fulcrum a way to get Chuck to hand over Guy’s intel on Fulcrum….

        I get that, but I wonder at what point that began. Initially, Jill goes out with Chuck on his own merits, one might say, apparently sincerely trying to make amends for the heartbreaking end of their relationship at Stanford. She has no idea of his involvement with the CIA until the poison is released in the convention hall and she is recruited to provide the antidote. Do you think she immediately reported her connection to this CIA asset/analyst Chuck to her Fulcrum handler? I assume that the kidnapping of Jill by the Fulcrum agent (played by Mark Pellegrino) was pre-arranged, but I’m still wondering about the transition from rekindled flame to manipulative Fulcrum agent. With Chuck, I’m wondering where the genuine care for Chuck ended and the responsibilities to do dastardly deeds for Fulcrum began.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        My feelings on it is that Jill’s manipulation starts at the beginning of Chuck Versus The Fat Lady. At the end of Chuck Versus The Ex my take was that Jill went with Chuck and delivered the anti-viral largely to protect her cover. But seen in a new light, Jill’s questions about Chuck’s missions and Sarah at the beginning of Fat Lady make sense for her trying to get Chuck under her control. When Jill sees Chuck’s reaction to Sarah in the escort outfit she sees she’s got her work cut out for her.

        One moment that stands out on re-watch however is in the opera house with the puzzle that looks like a bomb. Sarah grabs Chuck’s arm to pull him away and get out, Jill grabs his other arm and pulls him back. The look on Sarah’s face as she realizes she’s lost control to Jill is telling, even if she doesn’t yet realize how much more dangerous than she fears at this point.

    • uplink2 says:

      Ernie, while I see your point what I gather from OD’s concerns is that these missed opportunities just continued to grow in stature and became a far too common occurrence. To me the 2 biggest examples of throwing away huge dramatic plot points were the name reveal and Sarah not trusting Chuck for the first time at the beginning of Hero. They set up massive tension but ignore it completely going forward. It may be a valid story choice but it is also in many cases simply lazy writing. I would also quibble with your point that TPTB chose to have a fun show that moved quickly. The creative story choices from season 3.0 took virtually all of the fun out of the show and it was so blatantly an attempt to simply drag out a point of tension that had already been resolved until what they thought was the final episode at least initially. It was never about keeping it fun and moving the story. Maybe you see that was there intent but what was shown was anything but.

      Lou and I don’t agree on a lot of things but I do agree with him that when the casual nature of how drama is handled going forward can really reduce your enjoyment of the show. For me especially when the build up has been lengthy and significant. To get to a critical point and not resolve it because it doesn’t fit the new story you are telling next week can be very annoying.

      • atcDave says:

        Obviously Chuckwin’s Law disclaimer here…

        But Uplink I think S3 is sort of the exception that proves the rule. That is by choosing to tell a darker, less fun story that season, they really put a fine point on how good Chuck was when they stuck to their strengths the other four seasons, and made it about fun FIRST.

      • joe says:

        You make a good point, Uplink. Setting up a great plot point only to see it dropped later is frustrating.

        There quite a number of those in Chuck. For my money, the most egregious was the cliffhanger to S4, where Decker hints at all sorts of juicy badness that just didn’t materialize, and then just disappeared with his demise.

        Then there are things like the Mercer incident, which seemed to disappear, but actually did come back hauntingly (and with a great deal of subtlety) in Final Exam. To me, the fact that it came back as an echo is a feature, not a bug.

        Lazy writing still might be the cause. But you know, the writers and creators were too good for that, I think. In fact, sometimes I think they were too clever by half, which is nearly as bad a sin. Ultimately, it’s easier for me to believe that some things were dropped for more mundane reasons, like budget and schedule (especially schedule). Some things just got twisted out of shape by the exigences of the network politics.

        Not all, but most.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I actually saw a lot of fun and funny moments and some quick moving plots in season 3. They were just overshadowed for a lot of people by the fully explored drawn out drama of the Chuck and Sarah wt/wt.

      • uplink2 says:

        Guys you are both certainly right. If you are going to tell the darker story that removed all of the fun then you need to have that made up for by writing tighter plot points. If the story isn’t fun the flaws become so much more difficult to ignore. That is a huge reason why season 3 failed for so many and on so many levels. That is also why I guess this story element doesn’t bother me as much because as Dave said the fun stuff, the Chuck Sarah stuff is so great that it makes the other choices to play fast and loose with the plot so much easier to take. But it is a very common theme in the show and in some respects far too common. The PSP and Mary’s comment about Stephen never wanting him to see this is another that still irks me but because I loved season 4 and it was so much fine I am nowhere near as bothered by it as virtually every single part of 3.0.

      • uplink2 says:

        Ernie, I agree. I freely admit I can’t see any of it because of the stench of the contrived trapezoid and in many ways the entirety of the Shaw story. It’s always there in the back of my mind and I can’t escape it and simply enjoy what objectively is some good stuff. But none of his story or his impact on the rest of the characters is of any fun. About the best I can hope for if I ever decide to rewatch any from that period, which I sincerely doubt I ever will, is to put on Tic Tac and stop it before the final 30 seconds ruins it.

      • jam says:

        This conversation reminded me of a comment Zac Levi made before Chuck vs the Baby aired:

        “One of the things that Chuck’s always done is kind of built something up to be really monumental, but then we sort of begin and end all in one episode”.

        I might be reading too much into that, but perhaps he wasn’t too happy about this kind of storytelling either.

      • uplink2 says:

        Interesting Jam, but I think part of it is more that they build something up to be monumental, never resolve it, and then ignore it. lol

      • Robert says:

        “To me the 2 biggest examples of throwing away huge dramatic plot points were the name reveal and Sarah not trusting Chuck for the first time at the beginning of Hero.”

        Oh PUH-LEASE!!! Sarah wanted to reveal it to Chuck, make no mistake; but where was Chuck when she was in distress (and distressed “because” of Chuck)? He was with The Other Girl, and he was playing the spy. It WAS supposed to be a Sarah/Chuck moment, no doubt, but Chuck screwed it up with his antics. And, unable to control herself anymore, she blurted it out to the nearest compassionate ear, which was Agent Plywood’s.

        As for Sarah, damn it, she thought she had seen Chuck killing the mole “on orders”, that he had renounced everything that made him “Chuck”, and that made her fall in love with him (She told him in 3.13!)! I would have some trouble to trust him in her place too!

        Now, was that fun to watch? No. But the different reactions were logical, and taken while they were both destabilized.

      • jam says:

        There was nothing realistic or logical in the way Chuck and Sarah behaved in the first 12 episodes of S3. 🙂

      • uplink2 says:

        Robert, I wasn’t questioning the logic or illogic of those 2 plot points. I have written pages and pages on my feelings about those moments. I was confiding my post to simply the idea that those 2 dramatic moments were the most egregious examples of things that were built to, never resolved and then completely ignored and disregarded later when they didn’t serve the next episode. There will be plenty of time to discuss those further when we get there.

      • Robert says:

        Uplink, first of all, I’m not a fan of the “misery” arc either, so bear that in mind.

        BUT, the “Name reveal” WAS resolved.

        Just not to your tastes (and mine). 😉

        And Jam, the “Sarah-not-trusting-Chuck-after-he-apparently-shot-the-mole-on-orders” was not unexpected, especially with two lovebirds who are seeing each other dovetailing, and are in complete turmoil.

        Maybe it wasn’t to your liking (and I agree with you there), but their reactions did make sense, considering the circumstances.

        The only real thing that peeved me about season 3.0 is the fact that TPTB reverted to a last round of WT/WT to create drama between Chuck and Sarah, when nobody really wanted to drink from that well again, starting with the characters, when it had clearly been established during the “Jill” arc (that we are supposed to discuss about, I might add) that they knew there wasn’t anybody else for one another than each other…and especially since the spy life interfering with their relationship and the impact it would have was clearly enough to create drama.

        But what can I say? Apparently Josh Schwartz is a big fan of the WT/WT trope…

        Now, I’m done discussing again about Season 3.0

      • atcDave says:

        Where the misery arc always relates back to an S2 discussion is that to me, it really renders pointless a lot of the growth that occurs in the earlier season. I would tend to side with Uplink in saying the name reveal was skipped over; even though I get that Robert is technically correct, but I have to reject the misery arc in its entirety. It simply doesn’t track with what I’d seen before. It’s like a completely different show and characters. A show and characters I wouldn’t choose to watch. But that is clearly an omission of my own choosing, so I can’t really argue it too much. Except to say it all feels completely unsatisfying to me, whether I can “accept” what aired or not, it is a complete story telling failure.

        But again, not to get too negative here. Many shows have weak episodes or seasons. The four excellent seasons of Chuck stand in beautiful contrast to the one that wasn’t.

      • I remember a season 4 interview with Gomez and Levi where they both loved the character growth but expressed disappointment at how quickly the show burned through some plot developments.

        This is one of those instances to me.

        I also don’t think I was projecting where the show was going but was following where the show was leading me to. It showed Chuck in danger at the end of the episode and then nothing became of it in the next one. Am I the only one that felt the deflation of story telling energy when the opening credits to Gravitron started to play because Chuck was found right off the bat? If so, I find that fascinating.

        At least this setup with no payoff was only around ignored story telling opportunities that did not overtly impact the show; there’s another such setup with no payoff midway through the season that impacted characters, that did.

      • atcDave says:

        I was actually relieved by the start of Gravitron. For a variety of reasons, I was not looking forward to an episode with the team seperated.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        Mauser?

      • olddarth says:

        Gesundheit Cap!

        Relieved Dave? Interesting. I felt misled, manipulated, and disappointed.

        The separation of the team could have been very fertile ground for character exploration.

      • atcDave says:

        As I’ve said many times, the number one draw of the show for me is Chuck and Sarah together. It doesn’t even matter if they are “together” romantically in the early episodes, it’s the interaction of those two characters that makes the show special to me. Chuck on his own, or worse, with Morgan, just doesn’t have the same appeal. I felt that way (a little) almost from the Pilot. That is sort of my default reaction to any episode, and is a big part of what I hate about triangle episodes. I would rather see Chuck and Sarah fighting most of the episode than have another character between them (not that I like those kind of fights! Just that it’s the lesser of two evils.)
        Now I will admit to liking a few later episodes that did have them apart, especially First Fight and Phase Three. But other episodes, like Gobbler and Cliffhanger I felt were seriously diminished by too much time apart.

  2. aardvark7734 says:

    It’s funny. When the Jill arc first aired, I pretty much hated all three episodes because of Chuck suddenly turning into an insensitive bonehead. Now, however, I look back at “Fat Lady” as one of the best episodes of S2! I think it stands head-and-shoulders above either “Gravitron” or “Ex”.

    I guess what’s changed is that today I’m no longer freshly disillusioned, as I was back then, with the Chuck character. It probably also helps that I have the character from later seasons to compare with. By that standard, Jill-trilogy Chuck comes across much more favorably.

    Lou’s right, though. They deployed this stunning surprise* at the end of the ep, using one of the best sequences ever (the slow motion chase) and on-the-nose musical accompaniment (“Keep Yourself Warm”). It was almost poetic. And then they just let all the air out of the balloon in the pre-title sequence of “Gravitron”.

    *Not really a surprise because NBC let the cat out of the bag in its station promos.

    • joe says:

      Hi, Aardvark! Long time! Nice to see your handle here again.

      One of the best things about doing a marathon is being pleasantly surprised by an episode that didn’t register earlier. Often, for me, I’ll be watching an episode that I thought was just meh (or even one of the few I didn’t care for) and I’ll see a scene, hear a bit of dialog or a speech, or even notice some new song that pops out for the first time.

      I think there’s a reason. Usually what happens the first time I see an episode I’ll fixate on something (uh, Sarah… DUH!) and miss an aspect to which I should have paid attention. Then it takes me half-a-dozen viewings to catch up! 😉

    • authorguy says:

      I liked that they didn’t follow the obvious line. They had so many giveaway bits, like the Game Ripper that would obviously be used to copy the file, and the fact that Jill was Fulcrum at all, it was nice to see a standard trope go in a non-standard way.

    • Robert says:

      Well, sorry; I didn’t know she had discussed that many times before, I don’t have time to read each and every single interview she did on the topic… 😉

      Though she kind of strongly implied she wasn’t enthusiastic about the finale before, I think it’s the first time she said it that plainly.

      I agree with Yvonne; Sarah regained many memories on that beach when Chuck told her about their life together, but like Dave said, I don’t think it was ALL of them. And it doesn’t really matter; because with as little infos and memories that she got, Sarah fell for Chuck and committed to him again. As for her memories, it’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN.

      And I’m pretty sure that, had the show lasted 5 or 6 episodes longer, It wouldn’t have taken long before Sarah got them all back, and made a whole new batch of memories with Her Chuck, in their new house with the picket fence!

      So, for me, the Finale is a case of “they could’ve shown more, but they showed enough”, they have shown enough to make me understand that Chuck and Sarah made it, that they are commited to each other again, and that they are riding towards sunset (and their normal life), together.

      • Faith says:

        I completely agree, Robert!

      • atcDave says:

        I do wish they’d given us a little bit more, but otherwise I see it much the same way Robert.
        And you may be right that this is a little stronger criticism than she previously gave, but I think it is in substance the same.

    • anthropocene says:

      I’d say “Keep Yourself Warm” was about 98% on-the-nose (for network TV anyway). 😉

  3. resaw says:

    This is a great episode. Having said that, the show starts great but briefly gets stupid very quickly. I really don’t like that Chuck plays the impress-Jill-that-he’s-CIA card by saying, “The government finds me very, very valuable.” It’s one thing for him to have indicated that he works with the CIA, but to say he is that valuable. If that doesn’t inspire a full-on Fulcrum investigation of just exactly what’s going on in the basement of a Burbank strip mall, I don’t know what would. Granted, Chuck has no idea that Jill is Fulcrum at this point. To give it a bit of a positive in-character explanation, Chuck does have a tendency to over-share.

    Now, the one thing that still does not make sense is that the list of names on that thumb drive was purported to show government agents who work undercover for Fulcrum. Is not Jill a privately employed research scientist?

    I very much agree with your focus on Sarah in your review. It even makes its way into the B-plot with Chuck “cheating” on Sarah being the main piece of evidence Emmett holds against Chuck. On that point, though, I’m not sure why that should be useful to Emmett. Perhaps because it has the potential to undermine Chuck’s unofficial moral authority in Buymoria?

    I loved it when Chuck recognizes when he is potential trouble: he talks! When Jill asks if Sarah is pretty, Chuck begins a long preamble that concludes with an objective assessment that some might conclude that Sarah is pretty. He is clearly worried on this point. Are we to make something of this? Not all is Sarah objectively attractive, she is personally attractive to him…. Having said that, he shows no romantic interest in Sarah at all, except…. What are we to make of the shower scene? While Chuck and Sarah are scrambling to wash the poison off of each other, suddenly it all slows down; Chuck realizes what he is doing, who he is in the shower with, and the soundtrack music emphasizes at this intimate moment that there is some kind of sudden awareness. I’m not quite sure what that awareness is, though, because when Jill shows up, he is totally focused on her interpretation of what she saw, rather than a reconsideration of what Sarah actually means to him.

    …Gotta get to work. Perhaps some more, later.

    • joe says:

      Heh! You expect Fulcrum to pay attention to every nerd in every Buy More when they’re trying to take over the world??? Only Smerch and Chaos could do that!!! 😉

      I think the point of Emmett’s gambit with Morgan was to break the trust he has in Chuck, thereby undermining Chuck’s position in the Nerd Herd. Standard high-school power-politics. Right?

      Not that I ever played that game… 😉

      • resaw says:

        Oh man, Smerch? Help me place that. As for Maxwell Smart’s enemy organization, that was spelled KAOS.

        In a previous episode, Chuck was described as a veritable Messiah (WWCD — What Would Chuck Do?) to Emmett. I can see that Emmett would be interested in almost anything that would serve to undermine that status.

        So, I get up early and go to work at about 7:30 AM ET. There are maybe two or three comments before I post. I work all day and then don’t get a chance to look at the comments until the evening. In the meantime, 30 other messages have been posted. Do none of you work?! Are you all your own bosses so that no one can tell you that you’re not supposed to spend your day talking about a cancelled TV series? I’m just amazed at the daytime output (although I recognize that some of the contributors may be writing from elsewhere in the world). 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Actually Smersh was real. It was a Soviet counter-intelligence organization formed during WW2 and continuing into the Cold War era. The name was used by Ian Fleming in his Bond books, and has been used in the movies too. Although I couldn’t tell you right off which movies it was used in, but my first impulse is to say early Connery.

        I’ve been publishing these re-watches on Sunday night in part because it works with my days off. I do 4 10 hour days, and have Sunday, Monday Tuesday as my days off. Even during the work day, its a matter of federal law that I get at least a 15 minute break every two hours. For the last several years its been my habit to check the blog on every break. And bonus, my facility was overstaffed until just recently (like, during the entire actual run of the show!) which usually meant more break time than the legal minimum. That nicely abetted my blogging habit! Funny, we’ve lost four controllers in the last six months and breaks have grown noticeably shorter…

    • Robert says:

      RE: the shower scene, it’s simply because he is in denial (a bit like Sarah actually), he thinks Jill is his girl (she has been once), but now Chuck can’t help comparing all the girls he meets with Sarah. It’s much more difficult for Sarah, though; she’s all “stiff upper-lip”, but you can see that Chuck dating Jill bothers her A LOT!!! For security and personal reasons and not in that order.

      It’s too late for Chuck! Fate has brought him Sarah, his real girl, the love of his life, and he’ll realize it on the next episode!

      • atcDave says:

        Seeing how much Chuck being with Jill bothers Sarah is the highlight of the episode! Shoot, it’s the highlight if the whole arc.

      • The shower scene is so great. “Jill’s never going to speak to me again because she caught me naked, washing off fruit punch with another woman?” “Common spy problem.”

        SO many great lines in this episode.

  4. Great review,Joe,and you are so right about the numerous “stand-out” scenes.As an ex choirboy,myself,I have to applaud Casey’s fine rendition of the “high C”,followed by his” I wasn’t hatched” and Sarah’s bemused smile-all unexpected and classic witty Chuck.Priceless!!

  5. I’m with resaw, this is one of the great episodes. The constant misunderstandings here are hilarious to this day. It’s probably my 5th or 5th time watching this episode, and I still laugh out loud at it. Casey in particular is on fire; his choir voice and this exchange are priceless:

    Chuck: Is it poison?
    Casey: Nope, but you can add ice and sell it to little kids.
    Chuck: I knew it… drugs!

    Two of my favorite comedic moments of the series. And of course, Sarah literally dressing as a whore while Chuck assures Jill that there’s nothing going sexy about the job is gold. Even Morgan shines here (I don’t like the character before Beard), defending Chuck from Emmett.

    Most importantly Sarah handles Jill’s presence with such dignity that I don’t mind the triangle at all. It’s what separates the Jill arch from all the others – Jill being aware of Chuck’s CIA presence removes the need for lies that plague the Hannah and Lou storylines, and Sarah’s maturity sets it apart from the beefcake/shaw plots.

    “Then I’m gonna take you down to club Gitmo and hang you up by your fingernails.”

    Ah, Casey.

  6. joe says:

    Relevant to the discussion in the previous thread about the possibility of a Chuck movie, I happen to run across this today. It gives me pause.

    If the driving force behind the making of any movie is “teh $”, then the suits in Hollywood seem to have it down to – not a science, but an algorithm. The algorithm doesn’t favor the creation of an intelligent movie aimed at the Chuck fan base as we know it.

    I quote from the Ace of Spades blog:

    Hollywood has always made most movies for a juvenile crowd. A producer, I think his name was Zanuck, worked out the logic like this: Girls will see anything boys will see, but boys will not see most things girls will see. Younger kids will see anything that older kids will see, but older kids will not see things made for younger kids. Adults will see most things that older teenagers will see, but older teenagers will not necessarily see things that adults would see. Therefore, the correct money-making demographic to make a movie for is a 17 year old boy.

    And

    Television used to be a vast wasteland of insipid corporate least-common-denominator writing, while movies used to be a notch above that. Now that situation is entirely reversed, and with a vengeance.

    Yuck. Read the whole thing. It’s worth the time.

    • Based on this, please explain Twilight. Then again, I don’t want an explanation.

      Actually, that assertion doesn’t work for wildly successful animated movies or the early part of the Harry Potter series either.

      Sometimes, I think to make money, the show has to be dumb enough for the marketing people to understand how to market it.

      • joe says:

        You have a point, Jeff. But I guess the rejoinder is that the algorithm only applies in general over the universe of movies, and not to any one movie in particular.

        I’m rather partial to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, myself. That fits no better than Twilight, and much like Twilight (and Harry Potter, for that matter), was tremendously successful, financially.

      • Exactly Joe. He’s talking about likelihoods, not absolutes. You can have a hit that doesn’t appeal to 17-year-old boys, but the likelihood of having a hit increases or decreases depending on your demographics. Also, I saw Return of the King when I was 16, and everybody I knew had seen it. I doubt it’s much of an exception; I read the books in middle school. I was certainly still reading and watching Harry Potter at that point.

        And it’s not like only “dumb” TV series are successful. Game of Thrones has been a huge success, and that’s probably the most well-done TV show I’ve ever seen. Ditto Breaking Bad. Serial TV in general has become tremendously high-quality in the past few years. I definitely prefer it to movies in terms of quality.

    • atcDave says:

      I think there’s room for a variety of product aimed at a variety of audiences. The last few years have brought us everything from Twilight to The King’s Speech; from Band of Brothers to X Factor.
      Intelligent content always faces a bit of an uphill struggle to get made, but in many cases its cheaper to make and/or produced by enthusiastic people.
      The chances of a Chuck reunion project will always be slim, but that’s better than nil!

      • joe says:

        There was a follow up to that blog post I referenced yesterday by Ed Driscoll. (And for those interested in this topic, I really recommend it.)

        What’s catching my attention are the descriptions of how Hollywood movie making dynamics has changed. If we want to divine the possibilities for a Chuck movie, it’s pertinent. Driscoll, quotes Mark Tapson.

        That meant that studios began to depend heavily on big-spectacle blockbusters (something I touched on in the previous article in this series). “Movies went from something really interesting,” as The Sopranos creator David Chase put it, “to what we have now.”

        That left a growing void of more artistically and dramatically compelling fare–a void that television filled with Sepinwall’s list of the dozen American TV shows “that changed TV forever,” as his subtitle puts it: The Sopranos, Oz, The Wire, Deadwood, The Shield, Lost, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, and, of course, Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

        In other words, TV shows are now, generally speaking, the inspiration for new movies. Not plays, not books, and not even other movies. But TV.

        If yesterday’s article left me feeling down about the possibilities, this one put me back where I was. A Chuck movie is not a certain thing, but there’s a chance.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe you know a lot of this is just analysis by winey insiders who may be frustrated at their own pet projects’ struggles. Even back in the “golden age” we saw such gems as House of Dracula and Plan 9 From Space. There has always been a mix of quality and toxic sludge. I mean seriously, I just watched Lincoln which would have been an outstanding movie in any era. We also had Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter in the same year. I think it’s impossible to make too many generalizations about what is getting made. And even if an entire summer season is dominated by teen vampire romances and comic book adaptions; the fall season may be dominated by Shakespeare and Victor Hugo. There’s a random element, and trends can change rapidly.

      • joe says:

        You’re quite right. I love movies from “The Golden Age” of Hollywood. But of course, we don’t see the duds today. We only see the good stuff that was worth remembering. Same as ever.

        But we do seem to be in a dry spell these past few years. A real dearth of good flicks. As a retired Astronomer, I suspect a correlation between the number of good Hollywood movies and sun-spots.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’ve long been of the opinion that all the truly creative energy in Hollywood is doing TV, mostly cable TV. Shows on some of the pay networks like HBO and Showtime approach movie-level production values and schedules. Whether one-shot mini-series like Band of Brothers or long running series like The Wire or The Sopranos, these shows are setting the new standard for acting, writing and production values that has pretty much bypassed the movies, except in a few rare cases like The Lord of The Rings or a few other notable exceptions. Hollywood is now pretty much relying on flashier re-makes of 80’s movies and comic books.

        But there was an interesting statement in one of those articles Joe pointed to. Where in the early days of the movies through the 1960’s the inspiration for movies came from great books or historic events and people, now they come from people who grew up watching TV, movies, and playing video-games.

        In the right hands (i.e. Schwedak) something that self-referential and self aware can be a lot of fun. We can get the Die Hard episode (Santa Claus and Leftovers) or the Thin Man or Murder on the Orient Express episode (Honeymooners), or even the murder mystery episode (Muuurder), and we can enjoy them for what they are and have fun seeing them borrow from everything from The Godfather to Tron. But it takes a pretty deft touch to pull something like that off and give the audience anything other than a feeling of been there, done that. Chuck managed that better than I ever dreamed possible.

        I think Chuck was able to do it because the creators came from that movie/TV/comicbook geek culture and they celebrated it with us and loved it’s inhabitants, going so far as to portray them as the big damn heroes of the show. Others seem to want to get their laughs at the character’s expense or because of their quirkiness and oddities as opposed to us seeing the same in ourselves and identifying with the protagonist. That is one thing TPTB at Chuck understood, and one reason for our connection and dedication to the show.

      • joe says:

        Exactly, Ernie. I’d only add that part of the reason it works was because of the on-screen talent too. In particular, Zac and Josh knew those influences also and brought them to life with just the right touch.

        And you know, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Vik and Scott were influenced by some of the great comedic teams of the past, like Laurel and Hardy.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Just as another interesting aside to the sausage making you link to, Mo Ryan had some thoughts on the creative process about a month ago that are worth checking out.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie I agree completely with the sentiment about Chuck. But I really think its a bit curmudgeonly to criticize so much current content. In real time, we see all the releases, from good to awful. As time passes, the gems will be acknowledged and the garbage will rot away. Just in the last couple years we’ve seen The King’s Speech, Hugo, Lincoln and The Artist.
        And the golden age? I have boxed sets of Carey Grant movies and the Universal monster movies and I have to say there’s a staggering number of old movies that are not worth watching. But typically the garbage is forgotten. We remember the gems. I think modern cinema will be exactly the same.
        And I’d say the technical aspect of movie making has never been better. Those film-makers who do manage to find worthy inspiration are putting out some of the finest movies ever made.
        Even for the popcorn spectacles; which is really better, Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938) or The Avengers (2012)?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, while I recognize your point my counterpoint is that it’s not just that there are a lot of bad movies, in addition there is a lot of really good TV being made out there in recent years. The vast majority of my DVD purchases have been of TV series or mini-series like the ones I mentioned. Granted TV puts out it’s appropriate volume of forgettable dreck too, but most of what I see as the quality stuff worth watching and owning is shown on TV first as opposed to in a movie theater. I’m sure some of this is a matter of individual taste, but to me TV is producing the stuff I want to see.

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I still tend not to buy much television, even if it is better crafted than it used to be, there is so little of it that is worth a second viewing. And of course the current trends of serialized and darker story telling do not appeal to me. But just as with movies there are always exceptions. And who knows, when I consider the shows I do like right now I may come to see this a sort of television Golden Age in time.

        I did appreciate the Mo Ryan article you linked, but a lot of that had to do with the current, changing realities. Especially how even in this age of webisodes and kickstarter traditional television still has a lot to offer (like money!)
        A lot of what’s currently going on seems encouraging for the prospects of a later Chuck project. But the future is ever in motion…

      • Yes, the future is changing indeed. It seems almost impossible to guess where and how dramatized entertainment will be found by consumers in the next 10 years and beyond.

        Will the big networks survive and/or continue to broadcast such fare or will they throw in the towel and allow such new content to fully migrate to the cable networks and the big three only air sports and reality TV?

        Where will streaming site such as Netflix – which just signed an exclusivity deal with Disney be in 10 years? Will it and/or other service like it bulldoze their way over the networks and cables?

        The only certainty appears that in the end the consumers will win by being offered better & more product at lower prices.

        At least I hope so.

  7. resaw says:

    I came across this interview with Yvonne:
    http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/12-2012/golden-boy-and-chuck-star-yvonne-strahovski-hates-_63889.html
    I’m sure her comments are of interest to this group:
    Were you happy with the way that show ended after five seasons?
    I was thrown that my character lost her memory. I thought ‘God, how do I play a character that I’ve built over the last five years that everyone’s grown to love and now suddenly I don’t get to be that person anymore?’ Because it’s the memories that make the character, in a way. I do think at the very end, on the beach, where she asks him to finally start telling her [about her life], that she eventually remembers.

    • Robert says:

      So now, we know for sure; she clearly didn’t like the Finale, though she liked the Beach scene.

      Not a big surprise, though. Kind of feels like, for Ms. Strahovski, that the Finale wasted 5 years of work only to at least have a redeeming last 5 minutes, isn’t it?

      Looks like she wanted the totally unambigous happy ending for Sarah, with Chuck in their dream house shown on screen, right? It would’ve been nice (and better), I agree, but I’m ok with what we got, especially with the beach scene showing us that Sarah committed to Chuck again, and that she was regaining her memories.

      What surprised me a bit is that it’s the first time she’s so vocal about it; it’s also very clear that she loved playing Sarah Walker (Bartowski), and that she thinks TPTB did a disservice to Sarah (and Chuck), by having her losing (temporarily) her memories.

      Do you believe she will think twice before playing Sarah Bartowski again? At least, we kind of know that she will not accept to play a Sarah who hasn’t regained her memories and who is not with Chuck. Also that she’s not in good creative terms with Schwedak…

      • Mel says:

        I thought it was already pretty clear from her earlier interviews that she didn’t exactly love the finale.

        5 years of character development ruined, no wonder.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Mel, I don’t believe there’s anything new in this. She was pretty hard on the ending all along.
        But I also don’t believe she is totally bitter about it. She has also been clear she would happily return to play Sarah again. I don’t know if there are any pre-conditions on that, like she would return only if someone other than Fedak was writing, or only if Sarah was fine in the end. It’s kind of funny really, given her obvious affection for playing tragic characters. But I think the really good news here is that she has always wanted for Sarah the same thing most of us seem to. And given that if she were to reprise the role she would have considerable veto power about what it would be like, I think we would see quite a joyful return.

        I really like her optimism in saying her memories came back on the beach. I would have loved a better hint at that, like maybe adding “shut up” and a happy smirk before that final kiss.
        Oh well, I really have made my peace with it. As I’ve said, I completely believe she went home from that beach with Chuck. Specific memories may have taken longer, but I’m okay with that.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Completely agree, Mel and Resaw. Ordinarily I wouldn’t worry too much about whether actors like or dislike specific things – that doesn’t change what’s on the screen after all. But given that this is the only finale I’ve ever watched that’s so completely killed my desire to rewatch the show concerned, I’ll take my small crumbs of consolation where I can get them.

        “It’s the memories that make the character, in a way” – indeed it is, Yvonne. Indeed it is.

      • Robert says:

        I repost my answer here, I don’t know why, it didn’t post at the right place (thanx for your post, Faith! 🙂 )…

        Well, sorry; I didn’t know she had discussed that many times before, I don’t have time to read each and every single interview she did on the topic…

        Though she kind of strongly implied she wasn’t enthusiastic about the finale before, I think it’s the first time she said it that plainly.

        I agree with Yvonne; Sarah regained many memories on that beach when Chuck told her about their life together, but like Dave said, I don’t think it was ALL of them. And it doesn’t really matter; because with as little infos and memories that she got, Sarah fell for Chuck and committed to him again. As for her memories, it’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN.

        And I’m pretty sure that, had the show lasted 5 or 6 episodes longer, It wouldn’t have taken long before Sarah got them all back, and made a whole new batch of memories with Her Chuck, in their new house with the picket fence!

        So, for me, the Finale is a case of “they could’ve shown more, but they showed enough”, they have shown enough to make me understand that Chuck and Sarah made it, that they are commited to each other again, and that they are riding towards sunset (and their normal life), together.

      • atcDave says:

        Kev I’ve seen a lot of shows or movies that I enjoyed until they were undone by a dreadful ending. There are certainly folks who like things a lot more downbeat than I do! One of the funny things I’ve noticed in this rewatch is how much cynicism I feel towards S2 now that wasn’t there initially, because of how much I feel S3 damaged things. It is a constant struggle for me to just put the misery arc out of my head. Not that I always succeed! But while I don’t think I’ll ever see Chuck’s finale as great entertainment, I’m content to say it has no lasting impact on the characters or on what came before or after either. It was just a rude time to use the amnesia trope.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Dave,
        I admit I’m an extremist on the finale, and specifically the memory issue – I think if I’d liked S4 and S5 more I’d be more willing to give Fedak the benefit of the doubt. But he was running out of credit with me and the memory-loss arc and “resolution” well and truly burned through the rest of it. It sucks that it happened on a show that I used to love so much, it really does – but, on the bright side, it did cure me of my acute Chuck addiction 🙂

      • resaw says:

        The reason this interview intrigued me was because she was so explicit about her view of the finale. Until now, IMO, she described the finale in more neutral, objective terms.

        Your comment, Robert, that “she’s not in good creative terms with Schwedak” is an interesting one. I really am ambivalent about this. These guys were the creators of the show. We owe them Chuck. But for me, the last two episodes were so disappointing. I just remember sitting on the edge of my seat, hoping for something more. Even though that hope is given to us at the very end (although just the barest hope in my view), and I’m glad that Yvonne saw that hope in her character, too, I am with her in feeling like there was such a loss when all that character development over five years simply went away.

        Let me qualify my disappointment with the last episodes. There were some excellent, and really tremendously evocative scenes in those shows, and I thought the actors were at the absolute top of their game. Sarah watching her video log; Ellie’s decision to crash the car; Chuck with Sarah in their house, laying it all out to her, risking his life to prove to her that his love, their love, was genuine; and of course, the beach scene. All brilliantly acted and I think, brilliantly crafted by all involved.

      • Robert says:

        Resaw, I agree with you; I think it’s the first time she really is frank about what she thought for real of the Finale.

        As for the Finale, I can understand your disappointment; it would’ve been so much better if they had shown more about Chuck and Sarah reconciling, and healing together.

        I can also understand why Ms. Strahovski was disappointed, she had to start off her character almost from the beginning. And that was the point of TPTB; what we saw during the Finale is the microcosm of her entire journey from 1.01 to 5.11 in 2 episodes, with the same result; Sarah falling in love with Chuck and wanting to be with him (again). And through the entire Finale, we saw that the changes being with Chuck produced in her stayed with her, even with temporary amnesia. But of course, it may have been difficult (and disappointing) for Ms. Strahovski to play Sarah with a more subdued tone until the very last 5 minutes of the show.

        And you can especially see the effect of those changes in 5.13, with her refusing to be a spy again, and going to find herself on the beach instead, and the beach scene, how she made time for Chuck, how she reacted towards Chuck while he told her their story, and how she demanded that he kissed her.

        This is why I’m ok with it, TPTB could’ve gone for the easy ending, and show Chuck and Sarah, with all the Bartowski clan, and I would’ve loved it more, but what they showed was enough.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m still in between you guys on my response to the finale. Resaw I think far more than hope was given in the end, I think it’s fairly clear that Chuck and Sarah were back together, they had won, and they were fine. There were clues throughout the episode, and as early as the last Castle scene I think Sarah was pretty clear on what she needed. The woman who had once claimed that without Chuck she was nothing but a spy, had said no thanks to the government’s job offer. And if you watch the longer cut, she had gone from not wanting to hear Chuck’s version of their story, to being ready to hear it in the end. But the fact so many viewers did not catch it at first (I know I didn’t, it took a while) indicates a story telling failure. I think they were trying to be clever and artistic with the ending, and it was just too subtle by far.
        And Robert that’s why I can’t quite say good enough. I’m mostly fine with it now, but we hear from so many other viewers who still are not, I think it did lasting damage to the memory (!) of Chuck for many viewers. I also don’t agree with calling a more explicit happy ending “safe”. I think just the opposite, in today’s television environment, I think the more obtuse artsy ending is professionally the “safe” route. Giving the fans a plainly happy ending would have taken some nerve.

        I’m glad if Yvonne is unhappy with it. And she may even be more so now that she’s heard from more viewers than she was initially. But I am quite sure that means if they ever do a reunion project Yvonne won’t stand for anything that would do further harm to the legacy of the show and her character. But I don’t think it’s fair to conclude there are any problems between her and TPTB. She has never been very aggressive in her concerns about the end. Just because it wasn’t ever her first choice doesn’t mean she sees it as a bad choice.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I think people are reading a lot more than is there into that simple statement Yvonne made. Thrown does not mean hated, it means surprised. She’s talked before about how shocked she was with the twist and having to go back to an earlier version of Sarah than she was used to playing, and how it was a challenge. Yvonne’s a big girl, and if she wants to say she hated it she can do it herself without our help. She didn’t say she hated it or that she hates Chris Fedak’s writing or him personally.

      You’re allowed to hate the finale or Chris Fedak’s writing without appropriating Yvonne’s opinion to back you up. And speculating on her working relationships with the Chuck team, to the point of attributing ill will between her and some of the creative team seems to me both projection of their own feelings on some people’s part and inappropriate.

      Honestly as someone who loved the show, saw a lot of good in season 3, and loved the ending it is almost impossible to read this blog anymore. And I can’t help but think I’m not alone. It seems the only people who are left posting just want to complain and tear down the show and TPTB. Yes, Chuckwin’s law and all that, but this is getting ridiculous.

      • joe says:

        I’m with you and Dave – halfway. I can’t imagine anything worse for a professional (a professional anything, for that matter) than to have to do the same thing over and over. A patently happy ending, the kind we all had in the back of our mind for Chuck the character, would have seemed trite and cliche after 50 or so viewings. Don’t know ’bout you, but I’m going to see the finale more times than that, I’m sure, before I’m through.

        And that’s the point. They may not have succeeded – my jury is still out. But I’ll give TPTB props for at least trying something different, a little more unexpected and – I’ll use the word – rich.

        I agree with you, Ernie. Yvonne was taken aback by her knowledge that the fans were not going to like what was about to happen to a beloved character. Maybe she was even concerned by what it would do for her career, I can’t tell. But at the same time, she saw an opportunity to do something a little bigger than “…and they lived happily ever after.”

        I mentioned once before that The Lord of the Rings has a similar melancholy, ambiguous ending for Frodo. It’s also profound. I’m not sure Chuck rose to that level, but it did reach for that.

      • Mel says:

        “Honestly as someone who loved the show, saw a lot of good in season 3, and loved the ending it is almost impossible to read this blog anymore.”

        Yes, I’m sure it’s equally hard for the folks who hated the awful ending and the miserable season 3 to see other people saying positive things about them.

        ” It seems the only people who are left posting just want to complain and tear down the show and TPTB.”

        Exaggerations are always so nice.

        I remember DR (of the ChuckGasmic blog), who provided plenty of accurate CHUCK spoilers, saying Yvonne disliked the finale, and Yvonne’s own interviews have only reinforced that belief. Now, I don’t think she dislikes Fedak/Schwartz because of what happened, but I think it’s pretty clear now that she wasn’t too happy with the way her character was treated.

      • atcDave says:

        It’s funny how strong the reactions can be to different opinions. Normally, when someone strongly disagrees with me I’m inspired to defend my position. Normally it isn’t “personal” to me unless someone gets belittling in their tone. But the finale is really an odd duck. I have found myself at odds with those both attacking and defending it. I’ve never been passionately middle of the road before…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Mel, I’m fine with what other people like or don’t. The part that bugs me is this need some people seem to have to cast parts of the Chuck team as villains or victims and to project their own feelings on to others as if that somehow legitimizes them. Hate it or don’t on your own terms, realizing that if you hate it, it is simply because you don’t like the direction they chose, not because of some moral failing or sinister motive.

        It’s a TV show, get over it.

      • resaw says:

        Ernie, I too saw a lot of good in season 3. I understand that some people hate (and apparently “hate” is the correct word in this case) much of the season, but there not a single episode that I hated. I will reiterate that I found the finale disappointing. I still see it as providing hope, but only an inkling. I wanted so much more. In truth, I wanted their romantic reunion in the Bullet Train to have led to a pregnancy, not the tragedy that followed instead. I’m disappointed that Fedak and company didn’t write my finale, but then, he had a big hand in all that came before and for that I am very grateful.

        For the record, I don’t think that this quotation indicated that she hated either the finale or Fedak after all this. She is an actor and she put on a fantastic performance. But if she were the writer, I think the series might have ended differently that it did.

      • Timing is everything.

        For a show like Chuck – the so called ‘safe happy’ ending was the only honest destination it should have followed. The majority of the fans that were still with the show after Season 3, definitely after Season 4, were there to see the payoff to the relationship.

        If the fifth season had started with the Sarah memory loss gambit and then spent the rest of the season resurrecting her memories with the final moments showing Sarah regaining her memories – or demonstrating that the Chuck and Sarah relationship was back to a point where Sarah’s memory recall proficiency had become moot – that is where the show’s previously mapped out DNA lay.

        Plus, I hazard to guess fans like Kevin would have been pumped to immediately rewatch the series instead of searching for ways and/or rationalizations to impel them to do so. And the show would have procured a syndication deal by now.

        This is only my opinion.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yes, note. “the only honest destination it should have followed” is your opinion, as you yourself admit, based on where you wanted the show to go. Yet, you continually frame it in absolute terms like ” the only honest destination”.

        Your mystical ability to sense what the majority of the fans wanted aside, some of us, meaning me specifically, just wanted something other than a coast to the finnish, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

      • Faith says:

        Ernie, we are obviously beneath a certain intellectual level. Let us, you and me, quit the show and never return!

      • atcDave says:

        Geez Lou I’ve found myself agreeing with you a lot the last few weeks. I definitely felt a little betrayed by the chosen story-line. As I’ve said, I’ve found peace with the outcome, and I even appreciate a lot of the good qualities of the story and performances in particular. But I will always see it as a rude and foolish choice for a finale.

      • Thanks Dave.

        Yes the outcome was never in doubt for me either. It is more the route the show chose to get there. A route that I feel was unfair to the majority of the fans still left watching.

      • Faith and Ernie, before I chase after you in your protest walk-out, are we protesting season 3, the finale, people’s opinions of other people’s opinion’s of other people’s opinions of quotes (that are possibly taken out of context, misquoted, or offhanded), or something else? I just want to make sure my reasoning is right.

        By the way, I comment less because but I’m not able to check out the blog as much and keep up. But when I do, it seems to be the same discussion every week. Maybe when the rewatch gets to season 3, we can talk about season 2 or season 1, just to mix things up. 😉

      • Faith says:

        Well Jeff I was and probably still am in the opposite camp when it comes to season 3 so I would say all of the above? Lol

        As for the other, you optimist you! No, when it comes to that time we will discuss the fact that Yvonne liked for her character to have other beaus…which in turn can be attributed to…well I’ll leave that up to the masses.

      • Robert says:

        Ernie and all the others;

        I never said she hated the Finale, or that she hates TPTB now, it’s just that it’s clear it wasn’t what she was expecting, but the way she said it in that interview does sound stronger than what she said before, and I spoke of “creative” differences about her character, not that she hates TPTB now!

        As for me, the Finale wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was clear to me that Chuck and Sarah got through it, and that she committed to him again (beach scene: story, kiss). We shouldn’t make Ms. Strahovski say things she didn’t, but it works for everyone else, too.

        And when you wrote that article about the Finale, with the pictures of 5.04 and 5.13 Sarah, well I totally agree with what you said. Also Faith and Thinkling helped me very much by comforting me in my opinion that I was right to think Chuck/Sarah made it, just with what we saw…

        It’s just that sometimes, it’s a neverending arguing between the “I like it, it was ok, I loved it, it wasn’t very good, but I’ll accept it, t’was not very good, it was bad, I hated it, it ruined it for me” camps, without forgetting all those who are spoiling other’s enjoyment of the show with their “technicalities” about how the show was made, or how much it was not to their tastes, or wasn’t focusing on their favorite parts anymore; I’m soooo sick of it sometimes!

        Oh, and you know what? What the hell.

      • Faith says:

        Robert you sound like you fit right in with us quitters. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Wait when did everyone get so worked up? We’ve all had pretty consistent opinions going for months. I’d assumed Ernie, Faith, Jeff and others were mostly just bored. Now we’re all offended? As always, comments about the episodes at hand are welcome, even preferred. That’s the idea. Threads you don’t want to participate in can be freely ignored.
        But we kick this off each week with discussion centered on a single Chuck episode. And I think the vast majority of those discussions have started on a positive and happy note. There has typically been some level of “con” too, but I can’t imagine trying to review anything without bringing up the negatives. And as I’ve I said, I will NOT be posting in the main article of most S3 episodes. Frankly, those discussions do not interest me. I have a few other ideas for that time.

        I would encourage everyone who is concerned about the tone of this site to comment on the show we all love, not make personal comments or assumptions about the cast or writers of the show or this blog.
        We all got started here because we love the same show. Obviously we saw very different things at different times. It is maybe a little surprising that we can all get pretty passionate about it still. And maybe some of the insulting and arguing is because of boredom. After all, there is unlikely to ever be new Chuck content. But I had hoped a full re-watch would be an excuse to mostly rediscover those things we loved. I always knew certain episodes and issues would present difficulties. And I never intended to shy away from that. I thought it would be interesting to see both the good and bad of what inspired us so much. But I must admit this is getting a lot less fun. Can’t we criticize without getting nasty?

      • Robert says:

        Faith, Dave:

        I don’t really want to quit, but it’s getting more and more frustrating that every single discussions we start about a specific episode quickly and inevitably becomes one about either a)the merits or evil of Season 3.0, or b)the merits or evils of The Finale.

        Is it just possible for everyone to just stick to the damn episode we’re supposed to discuss?

        Or course, everyone is entitled to their own respective opinions, but is it just possible for everyone to just state their damn opinion without implying that their opinion is the right one, and others are just crap, with or without subtlety?

        That’s what I’m sooo sick of reading. And it’s spoiling each other’s enjoyment of the show, to the point that it’s not fun to discuss about it anymore. It’s not a respectful discussion anymore, it’s just arguing, and if it’s about to become just a constant arguing, then I will quit.

      • Wilf says:

        Although I did not like the first part of season 3 (is that what people call 3.0?) I’m really looking forward to the main articles and discussions of those episodes in this blog when their turn comes around. That’s because I’d really like to gain a different perspective on them and do hope that those who perceived at least some positive attributes in those episodes will feel able to speak here.and not be deterred by what could be an oppressive atmosphere against such views.

      • authorguy says:

        I will. I saw quite a lot of value in S3. Some good episodes had bad scenes, but there were only one or two episodes I thought were truly abysmal.

  8. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

    Opinions by their very nature are absolute destinations are they not?

    I have no illusions of what you perceive because it is evident you have weaved a rather intricate opinion that supports, and exceeds, everything the show has done over its five year run and woah to anyone that runs contrary to that.

    Your sense of mysticism exceeds mine because you have no qualms with expressing your opinion of other people’s opinions.

    I’ve never felt the need to deride your opinions……

    ….until now.

  9. resaw says:

    Well, I sure didn’t think the quote from the recent Yvonne Strahovski interview would lead to the comments above. My personal feeling, if it’s worth anything since I am relatively recent to this blog, is that there is room for a full range of opinions and convictions. My general goal is to stick to the episode at hand, but for the sake of timeliness, and because I hadn’t until now read anything this clear about the finale from our favourite actress, decided to post it (didn’t know Chuckgasmic existed until now). I haven’t re-watched the finale more than a couple of times at this stage, and my view of it has improved over time, but the initial sense of “Is that it?!” disappointment is rather strongly imprinted on my memory.

    Ernie, on this forum, your voice has probably, more than any others, encouraged me to feel more positive about the finale. That, and Thinkling’s fanfic story. I go to this forum because it gives me an excuse to watch and re-watch Chuck and to talk about it with others who enjoy the show. I didn’t really want that when it was still a going concern. It would be a disappointment to me were you to drop off. The same could be said to you, Faith, as well, especially since, if I read your note correctly, you, like me, actually liked season 3. I want someone like you to be saying something positive about the season when the re-watch gets there.

    I’m feeling like this is a Rodney King kind of moment on this blog: “Can we all get along?”

    Please excuse me if, as a non-principal, I’ve overstepped my bounds.

    • authorguy says:

      You guys are a lot more forgiving than I am. I haven’t watched S4 or S5 again yet, and certainly not the finale, or even the extended version on the DVDs. It wouldn’t have been enough for me if Sarah had gone home with Chuck, which I fully expected. The Sarah Bartowski she had been was gone, effectively murdered, and the Sarah sitting on that beach was a her zombie corpse possessed by the ghost of her twin sister. Not the Sarah I wanted to see him going home with.
      Even if her memories had started to come back on their own there’s nothing to say all of them will. If there was a season 6 Angus’ story Chuck vs. The Lost Years would be my pick for the storyline. One of the few that uses the Intersect itself to restore what was lost, so we know that all her memories are restored.

      • resaw says:

        I’ll just add my endorsement for Chuck vs. The Lost Years. Angus has an original vision. If only he could retire and dedicate himself to writing full-time 🙂

      • Thanks guys, I appreciate the comments with regards to what I’m trying to accomplish with the Lost Years. I’ll withhold any further comment about it until we reach that point in the series rewatch or someone brings it up in one of Dave’s fanfiction postings. That is, assuming we’re all still talking to each other by then, or someone drags it out of me. 😛

        Returning to the topic: This was one of the most enjoyable episodes of this arc for me. Singling out one particular scene that tickles me every time I see it sums it up – the conversation between Chuck and Sarah as they maneuver through the ventilation ducts while Jill listens on the cell phone. The innuendo is simply delicious. 🙂

      • joe says:

        Heh. You know, with my tastes, for years I’ve found that scene to be a touch “sophomoric.” Just a touch, especially compared to Jeff & Lester’s shenanigans.

        But just today I think I’ve come to appreciate that scene more. Blame Castle. I happen to see, for the second time, the episode where Castle & Kate get together, when she finally finds (and “comes to an agreement with” – all scare quotes intended) the man who murdered her mother. It begins with a completely sophomoric scene with Kate hiding from Martha Rodgers and Alexis in Rick’s closet. It’s hilarious, and then repeated with Rick having to hide a bit later.

        Made me appreciate the farcical nature of the crawl through the air duct.

        It’s important to treat characters with dignity, especially the ones we like. But occasionally, it’s fun to see them flustered. 😉

      • One of the things that makes Chuck so endearing to me is the comedic elements interwoven throughout scenes that might on the surface appear to be more serious.

        “Anyone else wantta be my boyfriend?”

      • atcDave says:

        I always like that blending of humor, action and drama. Right from the Pilot Chuck impressed me with how that balance was managed. Its very rare to see that on television. Most shows (I mean most shows I LIKE!) I would classify as one or the other. But Chuck is mostly just perfect.

  10. MyThreeCents says:

    As an first-time poster, may I suggest the problems with this blog in general, and this thread in particular, are Ernie Davis and LouAKAOldDarth. They both espouse visions of Chuck that are simply not on the screen. They both threaten to take their blogging balls and go home if you don’t see it their particular way.

    Mr. Davis wants you to believe that the showrunners had a grand overall vision for Chuck. If you don’t see it all as a part of the “hero’s journey,” he insists that you’ve misunderstood. Mr. Darth seems to think Chuck was a sort of televised Bourne and the show failed whenever it veered from spy-thriller mode.

    Neither Mr. Davis nor Mr. Darth are anywhere near the truth. Mr. Darth’s mistakes are self-evident: The show always had been a mash-up, mixing genres with gleeful abandon.

    Mr Davis’ theory is more insidious: He would have you believe that there is an overarching “truth” to Chuck, a unified journey that the writers and showrunners carefully planned. He insists the only way look at Chuck is as part of the unified monomyth template. He sees a “journey” that doesn’t exist.

    In actuality, Chuck is as far from the hero’s journey as any television franchise that I have ever watched. And the reason is simple:. There is no ONE Chuck show. There are SEVERAL Chuck shows and each have their own journeys, their own characters and their own financial and creative motivations. The only thing that all of the various Chuck shows share are the titles and a cast of actors.

    Allow me to lay out how I believe smart viewers should see Chuck. I think if you look at it the way the showrunners did, you’ll be able to compartmentalize the way they did.

    CHUCK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES
    These are the first 34 episodes (Pilot to Colonel), the ones fans feel in love with and rallied around. It tells a cogent story of a quarter-life slacker who gets a strange skill thrust upon him and a struggles to cope. And, except for the odd hiccup, it is brilliant TV: It has the gender flip and the WT/WT love story and it has the smartest thing of all: The hero really doesn’t want to be the hero. All those things are DEFINITIVELY resolved with Colonel when Chuck grows up, gets the burden lifted from him and gets the girl, too. The End.

    CHUCK: 2.0
    The second show called Chuck starts with Ring as its pilot and ends with Other Guy. It tells a radically different tale. By creator Chuck Fedak’s own admission, they pitched a different show to NBC in hopes of getting a third season. In this iteration, the show starts with Chuck CHOOSING the power. He rejects his past life and the love of his life and makes the sacrifices needed to become a hero. Chuck Versus the Ring clearly is a pilot for a totally different show than the original Chuck series. All of the character motivations are different. And it ends, definitely, with Other Guy, where the hero makes peace with his powers, extinguishes the enemy by his own hand and gets the girl. This show isn’t nearly as good as the original series for two reasons: Budgets are brutally reduced and the writing and shooting schedules were compressed. Plus, Matt Bomer was unavailable (he got White Collar just before Chuck was renewed) to play Bryce, who had a built-in motivations. A totally new villain/mentor (Shaw) had to be hastily crafted and cast.

    CHUCK: THE ALTERNATE UNIVERSE
    When NBC surprised Fedak and Schwartz with a series extension even before the first episodes of the third season aired, Fedak created still ANOTHER show called Chuck. This time he entered an alternate universe with the kind of storytelling usually reserved for fan fiction. For this version of the show, Fedak asked a simple question: What if Chuck and Sarah HAD run away together in Prague? The answer to that question is Honeymooners. They get on the train that Chuck rejected in Pink Slip and, by the end of Honeymooners, they realize that they DO want to be spies together. So Chuck versus the Ring is essentially the pilot for this version of Chuck, too. Pink Slip laid out one reality, Honeymooners the other. Chuck: The Alternate Universe ends with Ring II.

    CHUCK: BACK TO THE FUTURE
    The fourth-season pick-up for this show starts badly: Fedak and Schwartz had clearly intended to blow up all the previous Chuck mythologies when they blew up the Buy More in Ring II. But financial realities force the return of Buy More and the search-for-mom meme is hurt for it. But this iteration of Chuck, through Push Mix, is more of a romantic comedy anyway. It tells a totally different tale of Chuck and Sarah. They are two young lovers trying to figure out a relationship. And this show ends definitely in Push Mix: The C Characters (Awesome and Ellie) start a family. The B Characters (Morgan and Casey) find family. And the A Characters (Chuck and Sarah) start adulthood with their engagement.

    CHUCK: ANOTHER ALTERNATE UNIVERSE
    When NBC once again surprises Fedak with a series extension, he once again goes to the realm of What If? and fan fiction. As he has said publicly, the idea of Volkoff as the meek and mild Harley Winterbottom only occurred to him AFTER he saw Timothy Dalton play Tuttle in First Fight. Despite some fun concepts and star turns, this iteration of Chuck is clearly the weakest. After two seasons of reduced budgets and surprised tack-on episodes, Fedak is running on fumes and rehashes with Seduction Impossible to Cliffhanger. The Intersect mythology has become so muddled that it is meaningless. In fairness, however, Fedak’s penchant for political nihilism remains intact. This iteration forcefully again reminds us that all of Fedak’s “big bads” in all of his shows called Chuck are somehow related to our own government bureaucracies.

    CHUCK: NEVER SAY ONE MORE MISSION
    Fedak is nothing if not predictable. Almost no one expected another season for Chuck, so he ended Season 4 much as he ended Season 2: with two plot twists that would leave you wondering and fan-wanking forever. But when a desperate NBC bought his and Schwartz Season 5 pitch–the show would end where it began, with Chuck and Sarah on a beach talking about life–he had to pay off. So he ran through unfinished business: an incompetent intersect;, a romance for Casey; a backstory for Sarah’s mom; and a third defeat for Shaw at the hands of Chuck. It was all filling time for the finale, which, of course, has been wildly misunderstood. Fedak wasn’t so much showing a lost Sarah as he was offering of a version of the Chuck show where Charles is finally in charge.

    • aerox says:

      I lolled hard during some parts of this Wall of text. Whoever you are, thank you for writing this and brightening my day. Also, spot on with pretty much every point, though I’m sure there will be plenty of people who disagree.

      • aerox says:

        Though, a minor nitpick, it should be “a first-time poster” rather than “an first-time”. At least, that’s if I recall my grammar correctly, which I’ve been known to forget.

    • resaw says:

      I think yours is a fascinating and coherent analysis of the series. I think you have a bird’s eye view of the forest that is Chuck, seeing the contours, the meadows and the streams that interrupt the vista below. I’m probably more of a trees (individual episodes) viewer. I also want the story to make sense, rather than to perceive the series as having gone through so many fits, starts and reboots. Or maybe, to employ a different metaphor, I just want to eat the sausage and not hear the messy details about how it was made.

      The thing is, through the ups and downs and inconsistencies of all five seasons, I still found myself caring about these characters. There is a thread of continuity, of development, that captivated me and made me want to keep on watching, even though I found much of seasons 4 and 5 quite weak.

      Finally, to take your references to fan fiction as a cue, that is something that I have just discovered this year, and have come to enjoy quite a lot. The inadequacies of budget and story lines in the series proper have resulted in some wonderfully creative fanfic.

    • jam says:

      So, in summary, Fedak and Schwartz had no idea what they were doing and just made up stuff as they went along?

      I can buy that, Chuck was always carried by its wonderful cast and their incredible chemistry with each other, rather than strong writing.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      ThreeCents, I have to say I rather enjoyed that epic post. Aside from the inference that I am insidiously leading the fandom astray of course. 😉 I imagine, based on the several Comicon videos Joss Schwartz and Chris Fedak has made poking fun of himself and Schwartz as out of ideas, that there is some truth to your outline of the creative history of the series. So thanks for that.

      Now I’ll clarify a few things. I don’t think I ever claimed that Chuck was meticulously planned or written, in fact I’ve often pointed out the exact opposite, that they go for the fun and test the limits of the rule of cool rather than worry about individual plot points or get bogged down in continuity. It’s what OD sees (not without justification from his POV and given his taste) as their propensity for dropping promising story lines. I on the other hand see no evidence that these were anything other than one-time events for a bit of drama and excitement before moving on to the next bit.

      Where I do think Chuck is planned is that there is a narrative storyline that runs through each season and connects each season and the series as a whole. That story is Chuck’s journey to become a hero and live up to his potential, and Sarah’s journey to re-connect with her humanity and find love and a family. Unfortunately, as you pointed out, they had to wrap up the series, meaning that narrative through-line about 7 times by my count, so it gets a bit tough to retell the same story you thought you just wrapped up, but I think they pulled it off marvelously by essentially taking things to the next level each season.

      As for the Hero’s Journey, I have always said it’s a useful tool for seeing the creators intent or through-line and understanding the structure of the show. Also I’m leaning more towards the Hero’s Journey as a screenwriting method developed by Christopher Vogel as opposed to Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, though I suppose I have speculated that the monomyth is why Chuck and Sarah’s stories resonate so deeply. As a screenwriting technique understanding helps see the structure of the show and the season, and also helps clearly identify which elements are important to the storytelling. Where each episode can vary from the template to some degree, the seasons, and hence the serialized aspects of the story never do. I believe this because Schwedak have said they are writing a Hero’s Journey. That and it is pretty obvious baked into the structure of many episodes and arcs, and of every season.

      Each season is structurally the same. We start with a new situation that initially causes tension with the team and then the possibility of a new life seemingly opening up for Chuck and Sarah. The new situation, the challenges that lie ahead, and what it means for them is clarified usually by the end of the season premier episode, and our heroes are off on their journey. About mid-way through the season will be a low-point for our heroes, where their personal fears and failings cause them to make mistakes that threaten them, the team, and their future. Think of episodes like Nemesis or Crown Vic in season 1, Third Dimension in season 2, Mask and Fake Name in season 3, First Fight and Fear of Death in season 4 or Curse and Baby in season 5. These are the episodes where everyone complains the characters are acting like idiots, because they are. They are allowing their weaknesses and fears to rule them, but they will find their way through. Having gained self knowledge and come to terms with their mistakes the heroes and the team is back stronger and re-dedicated to their journey. These are generally the happy episodes like Honeymooners or Seduction Impossible or Kept Man or Bo. The final episode or arc will consist of powerful outside forces separating the team and threatening to destroy it all. The team will find a way to re-unite and overcome those forces, often a Chuck solution like in Push Mix or sometimes a Chuck showdown as in Ring II.

      So, based on that model, the hero’s journey, they wrote episodes, arcs, and seasons, and adapted, serendipitously I believe, the entire 5 seasons to form a coherent narrative. There are several sources that attribute Chris Fedak to saying that he thought he needed 5 seasons to tell the story he had in mind. We got 5 seasons, and we saw Chuck go from aimless nerd to selfless hero, and we saw Sarah go from “nothing but a spy” to an open emotionally healthy woman with friends and family and a husband who loved her (please hold off on finale criticism, we’ll get to that. In short I think structurally, the final episodes are meant to deal with revisiting the entire series and aren’t meant as part of the season 5 story, per se) . I’ll let everyone decide for themselves if that is a coincidence.

      Now, I get that I’m a lot more interested in and invested in the nuts and bolts of the storytelling, but I think that once you understand that aspect of the show, the serialized elements follow a model, and will not vary, and the serialized elements are frankly what most shippers are invested in, those serialized elements being Chuck’s story, Sarah’s story and Chuck&Sarah’s story, you can see why TPTB made certain choices. You can see that there was an intent other than to delay the wt/wt for a few more episodes, they wanted it resolved as the end of the journey, Chuck and Sarah, unambiguously together and in love, but given the chance to re-imagine they saw how to make each stories end the next story’s prologue until they had something greater than the sum of it’s parts. It is the very fact that they had an outline that could last 5 seasons that allowed them to re-imagine Chuck and Sarah getting together as the start of the next part of the story as opposed to the conclusion.

      So in closing I’d say yep. I pretty much agree with ThreeCents, but I guess to a lesser degree. There is no doubt the show suffered from many of the things noted, but I think the saving grace was an overall idea and structure and the ability to re-invent the show while preserving the overall story the fans invested in and connected with. There are a ton of ways to write episodic comedy, but to make us invest so heavily in the dramatic aspects of what is a pretty silly show, that was epic and awesome. No small part of that is the great work of the cast, but we can’t ignore the work done by everyone else to build the richly textured world they inhabited.

    • MyThreeCents – I love your analysis even though I don’t agree with it all. And that’s it. No acrimony needed.

      Chuck was definitely a mash up of genres but that does not mean that basic story telling requirements should be disregarded. Stretched, played with, poked fun at, for sure. But at some point some form of payoff is expected. At least by me.

      Thanks for the insight and levity.

      And for keeping your response directed towards analysis and not making it personal.

  11. SarahSam says:

    Isn’t art and creativity wonderful?

  12. First Impression says:

    I take back what I said about liking Jill in The Ex.  Within the first 5 minutes I was completely aggravated by this ultra-clingy girl whining about Chuck and his cover girlfriend.  And why is it that Chuck now has no problem with PDA as he did with Sarah in S1 (S: Kiss me Chuck.  C: I’m not good with PDA.).  Chuck kissing Jill whenever they were around Sarah and Casey was just ridiculous.  

    Now that I have that out of my system, there were many things I liked in The Fat Lady, such as Team B crawling through the ventilation system, Chuck’s Fibonacci solution with the spray of powder, the frantic shower scene, and Casey’s high C.  

    But what I noticed most about this episode was Sarah.  She’s there to protect Chuck from anything, including Jill.  Sarah cares so deeply for Chuck that she wants him to have his heart’s desire even if it means stepping aside.  When she realizes the danger he’s in, she practically explodes out of the secure room, racing to save him.  The emotion on her face as she opens Chuck’s bedroom door is unbelievably intense, not knowing if she will find them together, gone, or even find Chuck dead.  Wow!

    And Jill is a Fulcrum agent.  Thinking back, I’m kind of disappointed that I didn’t wonder more about Jill and the guy who ‘kidnapped’ her.  I should have been asking how he always knew where they were.  

    • atcDave says:

      No doubt Sarah owns this arc! Definitely some good stuff here. That last montage is just dynamite. Even though I thought there was no mystery about Jill being on the list, the drama and tension of of the race to get to Chuck’s; I remember thinking the first time, there’s just no way this will end well.

    • mr2686 says:

      I’m not a big Jill arc person, in fact, Ex and Gravitron are in my bottom 4 of the whole series, but Fat Lady is a great/fun episode that sits on the fence between high average/above average in my book. The things you mentioned, the puzzle, Casey’s high C, the shower scene and ventilation system scene are all great and make this a fun episode.

  13. Christopher says:

    First Impressions,

    Fat Lady to me brings me back to my problem with the whole Bryce/Jill and Sarah/Chuck Trapezoid. if it was not cool for some of us viewers that Sarah let Bryce hiss her in his bedroom like me during Nemesis than what Chuck was doing in this episode was wrong from the start. Including having make out sessions with Jill in front of Sarah.

    In Sarah defense and not that she needs it, she did it out of Chuck’s view. It shows me one of the bad things about Chuck in this episode.

    I agree with the concept mentioned above when Chuck took off the watch it was like Sarah’s lifeline was broken and Chuck was no where to be found. Not to mention how through all that Sarah still will not take a shot at Chuck when he steals the flash drive.

    on the subject of the flash drive, it also shows how Chuck has come along as a spy. He quickly came up with an idea to copy the flash drive and use it as a decoy to free Jill is an example why Chuck really didn’t need the intersect.

    one of the things I always marvel at is how Sarah looks when she looks into the Surveillance camera and as she is saying Chuck deserves a real relationship, her eyes and body language are not telling the truth with what she is saying. Classic Yvonne in my opinion.

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