The Long Wait

Getting From Season Two to Season Three

This was easily the most exciting and dramatic period between seasons during the entire run of the series.  I honestly don’t think anyone who experienced it all in real time would actually dispute that. It was a time of extreme highs and lows for this fandom. Granted, some fans may have been all excited, all the time; but the overall mood was intense, and up and down.  After the jump, we’ll look at a very engaged fandom, and a very exciting period.

Chuck was a bubble show, pretty much from beginning to end.  Chuck also inspired extreme enthusiasm from many of us, if you’re reading this you likely know that all too well.  For myself, Chuck first transitioned from a very good show, to something extraordinary long about Chuck vs The Cougars (2.04).  And it was shortly after that I became a regular reader of the old Chuck Forums at (long since taken down).  One of the first things I discovered, much to my horror, was that Chuck’s ratings were pretty marginal.  So while I was first interested in reading about characters, analysis, and behind-the-scenes, I was also very concerned with the show’s future.  The weekly ratings results were followed with much concern, and by the end of the season we were still pretty marginal.  So the first “save the show” campaign started before the season even ended.  NBC was starting their great Jay Leno experiment which left less time for quality entertainment.  Fortunately, NBC was pretty disappointed in their crop of new shows, so there remained some hope.

Chuck fans responded by aggressively reaching out to sponsors, especially Subway. The first salvo was a “Footlong with the Finale” in April of 2009.  And we let Subway know why we were eating more of their of sandwiches.  Its hard to quantify the success.  But we got a lot of media buzz about it, and the NBC chiefs took notice.  The story goes (and I have no idea how true it is) that the last hour-long slot came down to Chuck or Medium.  Medium was also a long time bubble show, that was well into decline.  While the Chuck audience was enthused and dynamic; and supposedly someone from Subway spoke up and said they were well pleased with what their sponsorship of Chuck was getting them.  And that was enough to decide it.  (Medium did get its last season too; it was in that critical one more season for syndication position. It was a CBS produced show, so to CBS it went).

There was much rejoicing. And Sir Robin’s minstrels were eaten.  But there was a big catch.  This was now May of 2009, but NBC announced we were back on the schedule in March of 2010.  Ouch!  And it was only a 13 episode order, with little chance of more we were told.  But even so this was a very exciting period to be a Chuck fan.  The discussions at were intense and active every day!  We were speculating like crazy.  I remember getting into fan fiction about this time, and some of those early stories were awesome, many are still among my favorites.

We were all eagerly awaiting Comic Con in July 2009.  We knew there would be a big Chuck panel, with cast and show runners.  And that season three would start shooting the week after.  And this is where it takes a sad turn.  All that fan enthusiasm turned to anger in record time.  The show runners’ talk about the show ahead was greeted with groans and boos.  And I kid you not, the forums were easily 90% opposed to what we were hearing about the show.  Talk about Chuck not being able to handle the new Intersect, Sarah being his Kryptonite, and multiple love triangles. I hadn’t seen a bigger PR fubar since New Coke.  Well at least we fans were mostly unified…

There is much that’s interesting about this.  Sadly, much of the discussion was lost forever when the NBC site was removed.  But you can still see all of our discussion from about September of 2009 on (when this site was formed) by going back in our archives.  A few things happened in the months ahead. One is, cooler heads emerged (I can’t really say “prevailed”!)  Some fans did calm down and decide to be patient with the story the writers wanted to tell.  But it’s revisionism to claim they were ever in the majority, they were not.  And to this day I’d call this a very poor creative/business decision.  The chosen story for season three was unpopular before it even started filming.  Now I know, by the time we had information on the story, it was too late to significantly effect Pink Slip.  But I have no doubt episodes later on could have been re-written into something more fan friendly if there had been any heart for it.  I called this hubris at the time and I stand by it.  It was a betrayal of the fans who had just fought for the show.  CF even bragged about creating an all new show on the skeleton of the old one.  Well guess what, I wasn’t eating all those subs for an all new show, I was fighting to save the show I loved.  Sorry, there’s still a lot of bitterness about this.  I think this is a staggeringly bad way to treat your customers.  And we had a pretty good idea things were getting worse in the production bubble too, two different times we heard Brandon Routh’s contract had been extended, and Routh’s interviews had given us a pretty good idea what was going on with his character.  I remember trying so hard to find a positive spin for what we were hearing, but nearly every week brought some new interview that sounded worse than the one before.  And again, the prevailing mood in the fandom was pretty dark.

But it wasn’t all bad news.  Two great things came from one situation.  The Jay Leno experiment was failing and NBC ratings were plummeting across the board.  So the first good thing to happen was our March date was moved up to January.  They even made a pretty big deal of it for us with a big event.  The first two episodes would run on Sunday night, January 10th; and the third episode would run that next Monday night in our regular slot.  Even better news was NBC deciding on a six episode back-order.  This still would make for a short(ish) season, but it was much closer to full.  And I can’t explain exactly why, but I felt a huge relief about it.  This all transpired fairly late in the game (December maybe?), and many of us strongly (and correctly) assumed this meant the original arc we were dreading would still be resolved by 3.13; giving us a whole new, and hopefully more satisfying, arc for those back episodes.

The mood those last few weeks before the season premier was one of extreme ups and downs.  I tried so hard to be optimistic, and my posts here from that time show it (although much of my writing was laughably bad, I don’t encourage anyone to read it).  But that optimism was largely based on the idea that the show we knew well would never go as dark for as long as some feared.  I’ll save more specific S3 bashing for the weeks ahead.  Our optimism for the back order was better placed; but it sure would be a tough journey getting there.  I won’t do that again!

Next week I’ll do my first alternates post.  Of course I’ll take a contrary position to much of what will be written at this site’s main posts.  We will talk about that some, but I will also look to be more constructive too.  I will look at fan fiction, probably every week during this season; and I would encourage everyone to think about what you would have liked to see happen during this season.  All are welcome to participate, and borrowing from fan fiction is encouraged (as long as you credit your inspiration!); but if you honestly say what you most wanted is what we got you might want to stick with the main post.  There will be some bellyaching, but I think we can have a lot of fun with this too.  I hope for a positive experience for everyone with reservations about the misery arc.

~ Dave


About atcDave

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

  1. BillAtWork says:

    Two major things happened that made us think S3 tollerable, no three, no actually four, lol.

    First, sometime in the fall, Ali Adler released a video clip with a wedding picture from Suburbs and said that C?S together was the vsision and to ‘please bear with us.”

    Second, Josh Schwartz just before the season began gave an interview. I think it might have been TVGuide. Where he basically said was that S3 was designed to put C/S together and promised that we wouldn’t get wt/wt fatique. Of course he didn’t realize that we were already fatiqued, lol.

    Third some casting sides for butler on the train in Honeymooners were leaked, clearly intentionally, about mid-season. I say intentionally because they were far more detailed and told about background much more than a casting side would. We were hopeful the end was in sight.

    But the forth was most important. A French reporter was allowed to visit the set for the shooting of Honeymooners and leaked the shooting schedule. There could no longer be any doubt. 3.14 was about C/S running off together with Casey and Morgan in pursuit.

    So we could watch the episodes, wince at how poor the story was, but at least we knew that, if we could make it to Other Guy, it would be over.

    And it was.

    • atcDave says:

      Funny, the Ali Adler video rubbed me so wrong I forgot about it. It was one of those things that left with a very bad feeling.

      The promise we wouldn’t get wt/wt fatigue was also funny, you’re exactly right that so many of us were already there.
      The leaks about Honeymooners came later when things were already pretty bad. Was during the Olympics break? (after Mask?) I kind of think so. It was the same time they did that extended preview that us all thinking Chuck and Sarah might even be together much sooner.
      Damage control.

  2. thinkling says:

    Soooo glad 3.13 wasn’t the end! Think what we would have missed!

    • BillAtWork says:

      Yeah, But if Other Guy had been the series finale, I could have lived with it. We were left with the image of C/S under the bedspread. And we knew they would be okay.

      Contrast that with the ending of Goodbye where we could only hope those things were true. And that’s my problem. In every other episode that was designed to be a possible series ender, they left us in a warm, uplifting spot.

      Chuck leaving the spy life and Sarah affriming that she loved him no matter what.

      Chuck on his knee proposing and Sarah clearly accepting.

      Chuck and Sarah fresh from their honeymoon and excited about the possibility of starting a business.

      If any of those scenes would have been the end, of course I would have wanted to see more of the story. But I would have been content that everything was okay.

      I didn’t get that feeling in Goodbye… and I feel cheated.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill its funny, the news this week about a possible Chuck movie sure has made me feel better about it. Even if the movie never happens, the drive to make one feels like we’ll see Chuck and Sarah together again, and that makes my day (month, year).

      • BillAtWork says:

        Yeah, Dave, I agree. Part of what made Goodbye so miserable was the finallity that we would never see them again, would never see how it turned out.

        Now that we have that hope, it makes it easier.

      • ‘In every other episode that was designed to be a possible series ender, they left us in a warm, uplifting spot’
        I disagree that the ending of ring could be described as warm and uplifting at all I certainly did not think Chuck and Sarah had a bright furure ahead at that tiime, i was hopefull earlier in the episode about them having a future outside the spy world but with Chuck reintersecting himself that hope evaperated.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Except that I don’t really think that Ring was designed to be a series ending. If it was, To Be Continued was a cruel way to end things. I actually think that the original plan was to have 13 episodes ending with them being together in Colonel. When they got the backorder, they shoe horned some episodes in to get to the same point in 21 episodes instead of 13.

      • atcDave says:

        They knew when they did Ring that there was a good chance it was the series finale. As I said elsewhere, that ending really disappointed me, and I think it was a pretty inconsiderate thing to do with a potential ending. But then, they sort of did the same thing with Goodbye in leaving way too much hanging for it to be completely satisfying. But I also think the Chuck/Sarah story could easily be taken either way from there; it could have been something sweet and wonderful, or bitter and nasty like they did.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Yeah, Dave. I really don’t think so. The Leno experiment came after it was done. Before that, I think they were very confident of being renewed. JS was pretty vocal in saying they were really sweating because if they weren’t renewed they would go down in history as the biggest jerks in television.

        I’ve never read anyone saying this officially, but I’d be very surprised if the original plan for 13 episodes didn’t end with Colonel and Sarah telling Chuck “It is real”. I think when they got the backorder they suddenly realized that they had to slow C/S down to last for 21 episodes instead of 13. That’s why Sarah shot Mauser in Santa. It wasn’t in the original script that was leaked. And when that part was finally leaked it wa in a different font.

        There are some episodes that just seem out of place. That’s because they were out of place.

    • atcDave says:

      Glad you dropped by Thinkling! Yeah I’m really glad we got more too, Other Guy was fun for what it was, but seeing how great Chuck and Sarah were together, that’s what I wanted to see!

  3. uplink2 says:

    Now we are getting into what I’ve been looking forward to since this rewatch started. I was not part of the Chuck online community until early May of 2010 and no idea of any of this going on so it is a real thrill for me to learn from folks that were a part of it. What it must have been like to see something you felt so passionate about and what you were reading or seeing just being dumbfounded by it. It has been great going back and rereading much of it and seeing some of the interviews and the Comicon reactions.

    I’d like to comment on a couple of things. It amazes me what a PR disaster this was. How it seems Schwartz in his own arrogant way destroyed much of their ability to sell a believable story. If it wasn’t Schwartz’s baby he should have been fired.

    I did get to watch the Ali Adler video that has since been taken down but coming from a different perspective I tend to find it rather offensive and a lame attempt at damage control. The ship was already sinking before it left port and they sent out their fan ambassador from the creative team to try and somehow save the mess they had created for themselves. It was lame and the whole “I don’t know if we’ll get there” part really bothered me. You’re part of the creative team of course you know if you will get there and if that is the intent. I know you have to protect the secrecy of the story but then don’t say that. In the end that video comes off as “Things are gonna really suck for a while but hang in there, please?” I still wonder if she was told to do it, asked to do it, did it come around the time she was writing FN? All questions I would love answered but they never will be.

    All of those leaks were intentional to try and do more damage control. From what Dave posts here the mood on NBC’s own forums was extremely negative and I’m curious if some of the executives at the network were made aware of it and told them they needed to do something as they had another PR disaster on their hands with Leno/Conan.

    I just find it funny how they also had the cast drink the WTWT KoolAid, especially Zach. I just don’t think they saw the same show many of the active fans saw. In many of the things I’ve seen and read, Josh really comes off as incredibly arrogant, Fedak clueless. We will discuss the chapter 7 comments later. But what is interesting for me is I knew none of this was going on. I just saw the promos and waited patiently for the shows return. I was so excited by the ending of Ring and the possibilities I saw but as I said in another thread I was horrified when we finally got to see what they chose.

    I really can’t wait to hear others impressions from that period and it really is a shame that all of that history is being deleted.

    • atcDave says:

      I have no doubt that folks at NBC as well as the show runners knew they had a problem. Now to be clear, I’m not going to claim a “majority” of fans disliked S3, I don’t know that to be true or false (I suspect it, but that’s worth precisely nothing). And I believe only a tiny portion of the show’s viewers even knew anything was going on at all; that’s how it is, right? Its only us nutjobs who check the Internet daily and opine over every comment and BTS photo who were really paying attention at the time. But I am not exaggerating when I say 90% of comments at the forum were outrage about the things we heard at Comic Con. Some damage control was started, like the Ali Adler video, which struck me as soooo patronizing and insulting. I strongly suspect it was agreed she would do it by all involved, but its like they didn’t know how to talk to adults or something.
      They also may have thought it was only the complainers speaking up. That actually may have some truth to it. By the time the season actually started I think it was closer to 50/50 on those who were sold on the vision we’d heard and those who were still very skeptical. And even at that I’d have to admit its usually those with complaints who speak up, so I think a majority of fans were actually ready to give the season a chance. As the season unfolded though I think the skeptics gained more ascendancy. In the end, I suspect (can’t prove) that a majority of viewers had pretty big problems with the season. But in the end, I think a majority were happy enough with the ending (3.13) to either be more accepting of the arc, or at least be willing to forgive and forget.
      I don’t want to trash our show runners too much. Seriously, they created a wonderful show and characters. In the grand scheme of things, I think I like a lot about Chris Fedak’s style in particular (the blend of action and humor). But he came into this with no television experience, so Josh Schwartz seems to have filled a key role in mentoring him, and played a big role too in crafting the Chuck universe. These contributions should not be understated.
      BUT; I don’t think they took those fan concerns seriously enough. They decided they knew best, and certainly they have degrees and experience that might indicate some expertise on the subject. But I think they badly underestimated how well many fans know their own taste and their own minds. I mean seriously, I’m older than either of them and I’ve always loved television and movies. I’m sure I have FAR more experience WATCHING television than any of them have writing it. And I take what I watch pretty seriously; at least seriously enough to know the why of what I like. And I think I’m pretty typical of the fans who were around and paying attention that summer.
      So I think they made a huge mistake in dismissing the opinions of their hard core fan base.

      The cast interviews were a little funny. Zach seems to have been close with the writers all along, and he was saying the same sort of things as the writers right from the end of S2. But Yvonne didn’t get the memo. She was out of the country when all of the S2 finale interviews were done. Her interviews come across quite differently, and were presumably more candid and honest. She commented on how eager she was to see the story of Chuck and Sarah getting to know each other. Which sounds a lot like what most of the fans were wanting. But after Comic Con, she clearly got her thorough briefing, because suddenly her and Zach’s interviews sounded exactly alike. Funny stuff.

      • resaw says:

        I watched Chuck from the beginning, but I wasn’t involved in (or even aware of) the online discussions until after season 3, IIRC, and certainly knew nothing of the controversy over the season 3 storyline until afterward. I basically took the story as given. Was it unfolding the way I hoped it would at the end of season 2? No, but how often does life happen the way we hope? Were there OOC moments (or, perhaps more accurately, huge swaths of OOC behaviour)? Yes, but surely we’ve had people surprise and disappoint us. I’m not going to argue with those of you who found season 3 to be so off-putting, but for me, it managed to sustain an engaging tension that continued to draw me into the story.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Yeah, Dave. They absolutely knew. The very instant that the Mask credits were rolling on the West Coast, Sepinwal posted an interview with JS and CF who just happened to be in JS’s office, lol.

        I remember the interviews at CC. JS was clearly stunned at the reaction (which I thought was mild). Then Mo Ryan (who is the only critic that I actually like) interviewed them. Her first question was basically “are you crazy?” The comments to the interview were so scathing that she did a followup interview the next week to give them a chance at damage control.

        And they were clearly nervous. There was the JS interview the week before Pink Slip aired where he promised no wt/wt fatigue and that C/S would be “resolved”.

        The question I have is did they change anything? I think it’s very possible they did soften some things and that’s part of why the story seems so disjointed.

      • mr2686 says:

        resaw, I agree with you 100 percent.

      • anthropocene says:

        As do I. I kept on watching, expecting the universe to right itself eventually, and it did.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I kept watching. But more out of loyalty. The episodes were painful to watch. I haven’t watched Fake Name to this day.

        And since over a million less people were watching by mid S3 (and never came back) I’d present that as statistical evidense that there was a problem.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I think some of those damage control interviews are quite amusing in hindsight. Remember the “do you stop reading a book after chapter seven?” question. I think of that now every time I throw in the towel on something. I think I’ve quit three shows in the last year, one of which was for a situation very much like Chuck’s S3 (Covert Affairs); I don’t like that sort of story, and it was only the extreme investment I had in Chuck that got me through.

        Resaw its funny, it seems like we saw the same stuff. But I guess I’m a lot less prosaic about it. The sort of garbage that passes for entertainment often angers me. I am very selective about what I watch; and I won’t endorse lying, immoral protagonists. I’m not interested in soap operas either. And yet that was my impression of S3. I might have been a little more relaxed about it if I hadn’t actually related to Chuck so directly at the start. So even more than almost any other show those “I couldn’t live with myself if I did that” sort of moments destroyed the enjoyment utterly. And some of the effect was permanent. After S3 I never had the same enthusiasm or affection for Chuck (the character) that I had those first two seasons again. Really, the way I look at it is mostly like “well, every show does something stupid at some point”. And that does help me relax into enjoying the remainder of the series; but it doesn’t really excuse the “something stupid”.
        There is also a very (very, very) meta angle to my continuing complaints about it. I want writers to know that many of us don’t want the soap opera. There are viewers who would like to see a growing, loving adult relationship, and it could actually make a fun action-adventure sort of show MORE fun. There’s painfully little like that anymore, The Mummy movies are one of the few things that come to mind. Hollywood is broken in this regard, and they more often think they need to reset everything (like in the second National Treasure or second of the recent Zorro movies) or drag things out way too long (even shows like Castle that do get there eventually, take too long a path). So a lot of my complaining about Chuck S3 is broader, its about how romance is written in serialized television. Even if Chuck isn’t the worst violater out there (and I know its not), its the one I’m most passionate about.

      • lappers84 says:

        Strangely I don’t find Fake Name to be that bad – there are some pretty good moments in it, but I always skip that scene – the one that shall never be named (although probably will be in about 8 weeks) – I’m sure I;ll have more to add when the time comes. I actually found Mask far more cringe worthy (even though there was some Chasey) especially when the log is flirting with Sarah. urghhhh!

      • BillAtWork says:


        I’m at something of a disadvantage never having watched it. But the whole concept strikes me the wrong way.

        The show had made a huge huge deal out of Sarah’s reluctence to tell anything real about her to anybody. It’s what Cougers was mostly about. She was, by everybody’s understanding, in love with Chuck. Yet she told her real name to some guy she had known for a few weeks and didn’t even trust? That was pure angst for angst’s sake.

        I had a big discussion with Mel from ChuckTV who wanted to know why the big deal. Well it was a big deal because they made it one. To my knowledge we never got any scene where Sarah shared any personal information with Chuck. He didn’t know about her mom and Molly after being married for over a year. And okay, Sarah is a private person. I don’t have a problem with writing her that way. Except when they wanted to turn up the angst, they had her suddenly act, not only ooc, but totally opposite of her character.

        It was dishonest storytelling.

      • joe says:

        And I agree too, Resaw. I’m not going to entirely disagree with Dave (’cause I’m the resident Sunny Side of Life guy around here).

        But I do think that the fans – the ones involved with the NBC boards and the community at large – worked themselves up into a bit of a lather that summer. I also think it was understandable and helped along by Schwedak’s comments. Uplink’s notion of a PR disaster is close to the mark.

      • joe says:

        Lappers, that’s a pretty good observation. But I think something is being missed here.

        Sarah is a private person. At the end of S2, though, she broke wide open for Chuck’s sake and immediately, everything went bad. It went bad with Chuck, it went bad for her in the CIA. So Sarah did what any sane person would do, she became private again.

        Except that she couldn’t. Sarah had indeed changed, enough to cry at Chuck’s three words, enough to open up to Ellie at the soiree, and enough to open up to Shaw – because she was broken. Sarah’s emotions were almost out of control.

        That should sound familiar, because that was Chuck’s complaint at the beginning of S3 too – that his emotions were out of control.

        I think a lot of fans were angry that she opened up to Shaw and not to Chuck, revealing her name to Shaw and not to Chuck. But that was only because Shaw was hated. The real important thing was that she opened up to anyone.

        A lot of fans say that the characters, Sarah in particular, were destroyed. But that’s only partially true. Chuck was changed by the Intersect, not destroyed. Sarah was changed by Chuck, not destroyed. They both had to deal with those changes and I agree – it wasn’t pretty.

      • lappers84 says:

        Although in a way Chuck wasn’t really losing out was he? Yes she revealed her name to Shaw and not Chuck, but Chuck found out at the exact same time (well maybe a second or two after, accounting for distance). But yeah I agree, I think it was also made worse by the fact that it was followed by a fairly steamy kiss (sorry for the spoiler Bill).

        And of course to top it off and what annoyed me the most is that it was instantly dismissed (though I guess you can argue that since it’s mostly in the POV of Chuck that he didn’t care about who she was)

      • uplink2 says:

        Bill, I wanted to comment on your mention of Mo Ryan, Comicon and others. Though I didn’t know about them till later what I have always found interesting is that Mo Ryan seems to be the only writer/reviewer/interviewer that actually writes and asks honest important questions. Many of the others, especially the fan based interviewers you would find at Comicon are always so worried about access that they simply either fanboy the entire interview or never ask the probing followup question. They were so used to folks basicaly kissing the ring that when the incredibly devoted Comicon fans turned on them they were shocked. Mo wasn’t a fanboy, She was an actual critic and reviewer.. Her interview with Fedak at the time of Other Guy is fantastic. She clearly saw the same things I saw and asked a respectful probing question that caused him to stumble and almost answer without the PR spin. Plus she had no problems worrying about access and told it like it was for her. Shaw dragged down every scene he was in and Routh was miscast.

        I think Schwartz’s shock at the initial negative reaction was very interesting as well. He thought that they could do no wrong with that crowd and they would love whatever they chose to do for a story. Many fans that had in many ways saved his job turned on him and he had no idea how to deal with it. Dave is right it was arrogance and hubris on their part that they felt they could do no wrong with that audience.

        I always go back the the Chuck Lorre comment as probably the most accurate view of his position as a showrunner. Something Schwedak seem oblivious to. That is you are always one show away from losing your audience. And it seems one interview or Comicon appearance as well. I think they felt the Chuck fans would never abandon them no matter what story they told.

        I said in in another thread but I really would love to see a class on how NOT to manage your PR effort with your fanbase and use Chuck as a model. The post Mask Sepinwall interview is another example of arrogance, cluelessness and a misreading of the PR mess you yourselves created.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Yeah Uplink,

        Critics and Showrunners have a rather incestuous relationship. I was rather amused at the rallying around the showrunners by the ‘critics’ after Mask. How dare the fans try and dictate story. ‘Fan Entitlement’ became a derisive phrase. I had quite a spirited twitter conversation with HitFixDaniel once that lasted most of a day. I asked him in what other profession do the consumers of a product not have a say in it’s production or be able to question its quality? He basically reluctently agreed.

        So I love Mo Ryan. And she was the only honest interviewer that CF would ever submit himself to. It’s a shame that she has had to bounce from job to job.

        I liked Sepinwal, but he turned into pure water carrier.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        Yes, but Joe, the very moment I’m supposed to feel sympathy for Sarah’s plight, becomes the exact moment I stop caring for the character or her issues.

      • uplink2 says:

        Alot of Schwartz’s shock gets back to the location it happened, Comicon. This was supposed to be a lovefest and the minions turned on him. It showed a lack of respect for his audience that he could say something so obviously divisive and not expect a negative reaction. In many ways the die was cast from that moment on as much of the season was already written or at least broken in the writers room.

        They simply didn’t believe it would happen that so many fans would turn on them. So they lined up their fan bridge, Ali Adler, and the stars to profess the koolaid and try to calm down the furor they themselves started by a huge PR blunder.

        Rallying the critics, especially the online critics is easy as all are driven by access. Give the critic who is the biggest suckup the biggest scoop. There;s a reason they chose Sepinwall for both the Comicon hosting and the post Mask interview. They knew he wouldn’t ask anything really in depth.

      • atcDave says:

        The “entitlement” issue is so loaded. I mean its true if we’re trying to dictate terms the end result will likely be unsatisfying, trying to please everyone is bound to please no one. But NOT trying to please your audience is hardly better! If the writer becomes so self assured they hardly care what anyone thinks, they are just as unlikely to please an audience.

      • BillAtWork says:

        They seized on some comment from somebody on the NBC board who said that we should boycott the show. And they painted everyone who had an issue with the direction with that same brush. Didn’t we realize if we boycotted the show it would just get cancelled? Are we all really that stupid? That was my push back. We weren’t that stupid. We could tell when we were being manipulated and didn’t like it.

        I’m actually going to cut JS more slack (in deference to Joe. Just kidding Joe, lol) than most. The love triangle is his tried and true formula. And it works with his typical audience.

        What he didn’t realize was that the Chuck audience was different. It was older, better educated, more affluent, more male, and identified with the nerd in Chuck. We wanted him to get the girl. I’ll stop short of saying that we lived vicariously through Chuck. Actually, no I won’t. We lived vicariously through Chuck. 🙂

        We don’t know what pressure they got from the network or studio. They may have been told point blank. You can’t put them together this early.

        So I don’t have an issue with not putting them together. I just think there were better ways.

      • atcDave says:

        I do have an issue with not putting them together, but I will concede they likely could have made another round of wt/wt work in other ways that wouldn’t have irked me so much. I’m highly skeptical of claims of NBC interfering, I seriously don’t think the network was worried at that point, they saw the show as getting a bonus freebie season and weren’t much worried about it. It also wasn’t an NBC property, it was just filling a hole in schedule.
        But I will concede the studio could have been a problem. Even at that I’m a little skeptical, I think long term expectations were low all around and no one was micro-managing.
        Do you know how rare it is for a fan “saved” show to get more than a single season? I think it’s happened like three times, ever. I honestly believe no one was paying attention. Even the S3 back order pick up was kind of a surprise.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I don’t think they could have made wt/wt work. I agree with you there. But they could have done a season of ‘they will, just not yet’. That’s what bothered me. They sold us on the scene that they were in love, then they reset it back to wt/wt in an unbelivable, frustrating way.

        They could both agree that they wanted to be together, but outside forces simply wouldn’t allow it right now. That would be just as powerful, just as much UST, but in a heartwarming, romantic way.

      • uplink2 says:

        Agreed Bill. I think it was actually one commenter on Sepinwall’s review posting for Mask that said to boycott the show till Chuck and Sarah are together. And you are correct all “shippers” got painted with the same brush. From what I’ve read of what is still available there was a lot of that blaming the “shippers” already going on in the fanbase long before Mask aired. Not saying that some of it wasn’t over the top but the battle lines were already being drawn.

        Some people kept trying to get folks to focus on the P in PLI but there was nothing potential about it. This was pure WTWT TV LI troupe and you are correct it is a tried and true formula. But you are also correct that Chuck’s audience wasn’t the same as the OC audience. They should have recognized that if they had done legitimate fan outreach instead of those critics and fan based vehicles that were more focused on maintaing access than actually asking probing questions. But what they ended up being shocked about was that many in this devoted fanbase saw from the very beginning that the Emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes. There were plenty of ways to keep them apart but the OLI story was the most phoney and contrived. A large portion of the active fanbase already had WTWT fatigue but unfortunately they either couldn’t see that or chose not to.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Bill, I guess I was considering that just another form of wt/wt. External forces make by far the most plausible way to continue it as far as I’m concerned. It might have even been exciting if they had to fight hard to be together. But there was a certain “just falling into things” that was pretty underwhelming in the way it was done.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink that whole fan divide sure did get ugly at times! Obviously, still does. And it’s nearly impossible to find common ground when the fundamental break is loved/hated certain episodes/arcs.
        But a big thing to me, and this will be a part of the main post next week, is that I loved the characters and setting. I’m not that wed to the story. I’m perfectly willing to say better things could have been done with these characters. I sure do have favorite episodes, but I’m not so attached to any of them that I can’t imagine a few tweaks that could make them better.
        While I think many other viewers just bought into the whole package entirely, and take offense at criticism of those main stories they hold dear (don’t get me wrong, I take offense too at criticism of the things I hold most dear!).
        It’s a fundamental split over exactly which things we hold dear.

      • joe says:

        I have to apologize to everyone for not being here today. In all honesty, I was in the emergency room – my wife has a fairly serious infection. It’s under control now and we’re both home, so I’m relaxing with a drink in hand after a very stressful couple of days.

        Let me say first, that you guys are pretty incredible. The discussion is civil, intelligent and respectful. I couldn’t ask for more. I’m sorry that I can’t offer more tonight, but I did want to address this.


        I always go back the the Chuck Lorre comment as probably the most accurate view of his position as a showrunner. Something Schwedak seem oblivious to. That is you are always one show away from losing your audience.

        It’s true, but even Lorre, whom I consider to be the best comedy writer alive today, came close to losing me in his best show, TBBT.

        Lorre’s played fast and loose with Leonard and Penny, doing everything – the same things – that we said was wrong with S3 for almost two seasons. The stakes seemed a bit lower than with Chuck and Sarah (not a compliment, btw), so I let him get away with it longer.

        IMHO, Lorre faced the same problem as Schwedak, and Schwedak “got it’ sooner than Lorre did.

        Okay, I’m not measuring my words carefully because of the drink, but you guys understand what I mean.

      • atcDave says:

        So sorry to hear about your lousy day Joe. Glad to hear you’re home and relaxing now; both of you take care!

        I didn’t know who Chuck Lorre was, the context helps and I see the point. I kept thinking of Peter Lorre and it just wasn’t making much sense…

      • joe says:

        Thanks, Dave. Sal’s much better today.

        Grace Under Fire, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, Rosanne, Mike & Molly – sometimes it seems like Lorre has his hand in every TV comedy out there.

        You can always tell a Chuck Lorre production – at the end he puts up a very wordy still shot for a very short time that looks like a long memo or letter. It’s impossible to read unless you freeze your DVR at just the right time, it’s always different and generally hilarious.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But sitcoms are different. There are other reasons to watch TBBT than to see if Sheldon and Penny (or is it Leonard, lol) get together. In fact, that is starting to annoy me. The show is much funnier when the girls are together or the guys are together. None of the couples are all the entertaining by thenselves. In fact I get the distinct impression that Penny doesn’t see herself with Leonard long term.

        It’s the TV formula. Go slow, reset, keep it going for as long as possible. And that eventually makes me not care anymore.

        My only reason (almost literally) to watch Chuck was to see where C/S were going. I judge every episode on how the relationship was treated. So when I give up on C/S, or more accurately stop giving a rip, I stop having a reason to watch. And that’s my theory as to what happened to the 2 million people who stopped watching. They gave up on C/S and had no reason to watch.

      • atcDave says:

        We don’t really do sit-coms, and I’m not actually familiar with any of those. Except I do remember Charlie Sheen’s rather famous tirade against him. His extensive credentials do add some extra weight to his comment. I wonder when he felt like he’d lost an audience.

        Glad to hear all is well with Sally!

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I hesitate to say Chuck and Sarah were the ONLY reason I was watching Chuck. I remember the initial choice to watch had nothing to do with a romance at all; the previews looked fun and exciting, and critical reviews were pretty good, so I remember thinking it might just be my kind of show. Now no doubt, I like a sweet, well done romance. And I thought pretty early on (Tango specifically) that Chuck might be something special in that regard. And as of Cougars I realized the romance was absolutely the most important part of the show to me. But I still don’t think it was ever my only reason for watching. Much of the action (outrageous, over done stuff) and humor (absurd, mixed with 80s culture) were just exactly to my liking.
        At its best, Chuck was a VERY complete package for me, everything worked exactly right to my taste. But I guess I’m not as tolerant as some viewers, because obviously when it failed me, it failed pretty badly.

      • uplink2 says:

        Joe, as Bill said sitcoms are different and I think though not perfect Lorre handled things much better with the WTWT.

        First the reason he broke them up after the first time they got together was totally in character. Leonard jumped the gun and confessed his love to Penny. She freaked and tried to back off. Then she broke up with him because Will Wheaton told her, yes as a way to get her off the bowling team, that dragging things out when she couldn’t commit to Leonard in the same way was unfair to him. That is an honorable way to deal with the reset as she simply wasn’t ready.

        Second, one of my favorite moments was when she told Leonard that he spoiled her for stupid guys. Can you imagine Sarah telling Chuck he spoiled her for classic “spies” even though Shaw was a pretty poor version? Or Chuck telling Sarah she spoiled him for “normal” girls? Those would be great scenes and it made the shipper in my happy. Guys she was used to dating didn’t measure up anymore.

        Third when Leonard got the awful Priya as an LI they made it fun by having the girls “Priya bash” in many an episode. I loved those moments. The only time I liked Priya was when she ripped apart the roommate agreement. That was comedic gold. But they handled the unwanted LI well.

        Fourth, when they finally put them back together they didn’t dominate the show with Leonard Penny. They kept the balance and focused on the other stories equally. It made it not a central piece but part of the whole, something Schwedak lost for many of the spy fans in season 4.

        But my point is that he recognizes you have to earn fan loyalty every week. You can’t get away with things like the Ali Adler video or comments like you don’t put a book down after chapter 7 (42) or we are further along in the story. You fight for your audience every episode and if you are going to break up the central relationship, have it be for real honest, believable reasons and not obvious contrivances. Make your audience realize your story works based on what we know about the characters. When you put them back together you make them earn it. Rebuild the relationship from the inside and make the audience believe they deserved that moment not that its simply the final ep of an arc(series) and its time no matter what the real state of the relationship is.

        Of course a sitcom vs drama has its issues with comparison but I believe his statement applies to all forms of entertainment. He gets it and during S3 I think Schwedak were so caught up in their own hubris, they didn’t.

  4. Bill says:

    Like Uplink and resaw, I was not a member of Chuck’s online community until some point in S3 — after either Mask or Fake Name — when I joined ChuckTV. I had no clue what was going on behind the scenes. Very interesting stuff!

  5. joe says:

    Great post, Dave. That’s the history as I remember it.

    I don’t want to even try to change the tenor of the conversation here, but I do want to challenge the idea that a majority of the fans were angry and booed at the comiccon event. (Actually, “Challenge” is the wrong word. I want to defend the opposite notion.)

    Well, they did, sort of. The did boo. But weren’t the boos immediately followed by an almost nervous laughter that signaled “…We only want Charah, you idiots. But our outburst is because we love you anyway!”? I kinda sorta remember that.

    In a way, it’s not a contradiction to have both ideas simultaneously – that most of the fans were upset at what they heard and that most were supportive at the same time. Almost all (100%, the statistically improbable unity of the entire sample universe!) were conflicted. We each started to form in our minds the story’s continuation. It didn’t take much imagination to think that none of us were going to get our personal wish on our personal schedule.

    The NBC boards reflected that at the time too.

    • BillAtWork says:

      But Joe, come on.

      It’s true that they didn’t boo him off the stage. But ComicCon is a love fest. To have any reaction except for fangirl squeeling is stunning all by itself.

      And JS recognized that at the time. You could see it in his face in the after interviews.

      The Chuck audience is varied. Jeffster is popular. I think it took away from the story. If they were giving a concert in my front yard, I wouldn’t expend the energy to walk out there. Okay we all watch for different reasons. But a significant portion of the base was rooting for the nerd to get the girl. What they gave us was nerd turns into a hero, stops being a nerd, and maybe gets rewarded by getting the girl. It’s that portion of the fanbase that was most upset.

      By the time the nerd got the girl, I didn’t like him or root for him.

      • joe says:

        Well, yes! It was stunning. But what you’re saying doesn’t really contradict what I’m saying, Bill (or visa versa, for that matter). Merely a difference in emphasis – and it seems a small one at that!

        – except that I was routing for him still when the nerd got the girl. 😉

      • BillAtWork says:

        Yeah, Joe. Our differences are slight. 🙂

        But I was seriously not liking Chuck for a while. He was a major dick in First Class. And his epiphany in Beard that he loved Sarah struck me as absurd. how many times can you have that epiphany?

      • atcDave says:

        I’m 100% with Bill on this one.

        But I can agree with part of what Joe’s saying. Many fans (possibly “all”) who were following events that off-season were at least conflicted about what they were hearing about S3. And many of those fans had made peace with it before or during the actual run of those episodes. But compare that to the unbridled enthusiasm we had going into S4. Which is better?
        I honestly think if they had been able to tell a POSITIVE story in S3; I mean a story that was fun, that made Chuck look good and like someone we’d all want to be, and showed Sarah as the tough agent who was finding her heart, AND presented it in such a way to harness fan energy and enthusiasm coming off S2 and the renewal campaign, we would now be looking at an S6 finale coming up and be discussing what S7 would bring. There was SO MUCH passion and good will from fans right after S2; and they flushed it.
        The fact some of us found more peace with S3 than others is somewhat beside the point. They turned so much positive energy into something negative; THAT is extraordinary, and not in a good way.

      • Dave: “compare that to the unbridled enthusiasm we had going into S4”

        I don’t remember that, but I wasn’t reading this blog at the time. One of the reasons I wrote Sarah vs the Mystery Agent was because some people were freaking out about how it was going to work with Chuck out of the CIA. They were worried Chuck and Sarah’s mission partnership was over. In my story, I had Morgan finding out about the Orion Cave first. I had Sarah finding out about Chuck’s search for his mom pretty quickly, but only after Morgan and Chuck ended up on the same mission as Sarah and Casey. I just had a different twist than Chuck rescuing Sarah and Casey. I didn’t milk the secret with Ellie for over half a season. I also had more explosions because I saved on the green-screen, fake international location budget.

      • atcDave says:

        The issue of Chuck keeping secrets was discussed, but there was not much fan angst over it. We were pretty upbeat at that time. But I wish I’d said right after we got renewed. There was a two month period there that was all excited and pumped up. The fandom was loaded with all positive energy. And THAT sure switched around in a hurry.

  6. ThreeCentsWorth says:

    May I present what MIGHT be an interesting rhetorical scenario? Here it is:
    You are the showrunners of Chuck and have put Chuck and Sarah together at the end of S2E21, Colonel. Chuck is free of the Intersect, out of the spy game and has gotten the girl he loves. Or as General Beckman says: Project Bartowski is over.

    Where do you take the show? I mean, literally. Where do YOU take the show Chuck in the season 2 finale and Season 3.

    I ask because all of the stuff I read about what viewers/fans would do is about how they would run the show AFTER Ring. But Ring is part and parcel of where Fedak and Schwartz were taking Season 3, which is…um…controversial. If you do Ring, you basically do Season 3. Not because you HAVE to, but because that is what the actual showrunners were planning to do. So I think it’s a bit of cheat for fans to start their rewrites AFTER Ring. The time to decide the next step for the Chuck show is after Colonel.

    So be the showrunners: it’s the end of Colonel. If YOU’RE running the show, what do YOU do next? What is YOUR finale for season 2? What do you want to do with Season 3? (BTW, honest, this is NOT a defense of what the showrunners did. I’m truly and honestly interested in how folks would take the show after Colonel…)

    • BillAtWork says:

      Wow, TCW, I’m so glad you asked, LOL.

      BrickRoad and I did a story called The Long Brick Road. That’s what I would have done. Have C/S admit that they loved each other, and someday they would be together, but today isn’t that day.

      They would have to keep their feelings for each other secret or get Sarah reassigned. You could even still introduce Shaw if you wanted. He could be the eagle eye watching Sarah for any sign of being compromised. He could maybe have the hots for Sarah himself (who could blame him?) and she would be in an awkward spot. You could still have tons of UST, all the angst you wanted, we would have still been aching for them to be together, and every 3rd episode or so show us a scene of them kissing in the dark someplace and telling each other to hang in there.

      IMO, that would have been good for at least a season. And it isn’t hindsight. I was arguing that before S3 even aired.

      • ThreeCentsWorth says:

        But Chuck is done with the spy life at the end of Colonel, so, logically, Sarah would be reassigned by the CIA. So what is your season 2 finale that brings Chuck back into spying and (one assumes) keeps Sarah and Casey with him?

        This is my honest question: S2E21 ends with Chuck out of spying, Chuck and Sarah together and Ted Roark en route to Burbank. What does S2E22 then look like if It is NOT Ring and the Season 3 that the showrunners storyboarded based on Ring?

        I guess what I’m saying is DON’T fix Ring or Season 3. Propose alternative scenarios for ending season 2 and creating a season 3.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But I don’t buy your starting point. Why does Ring mean that we had to have S3?

        Personally, I wouldn’t have 2.0. I wouldn’t have ended Fulcrum. They were the perfect villain. But if you were going to have 2.0 and Chuck become a spy, I would have done almost the opposite. 2.0 wouldn’t work effectively unless Sarah was there. She would be the spinich. So even though Beckman and Shaw would have loved to break them up, they couldn’t.

        I like the idea of Chuck and Sarah becomming the next generation Orion and Frost, carrying on fighting the family war, not really with the CIA, but not really against them either. I even thought they were going there for a while. It would be the most romantic story, two lovers against the world.

      • atcDave says:

        No doubt Bill I LOVE that version.

      • uplink2 says:

        Ok I’ll give this a try, At the end of Colonel Chuck doesn’t have the Intersect. He and Sarah go back to her hotel room and “comsumate” their love that was ” coitus interuptus” in Barstow. The Ring exists as the overseer for all of Fulcrum which is still very much alive in the form of Ted Roarke and all of the other Fulcrum Agents around the world. Whatever happened to all of them we didn’t know. They know that Orion is Chuck’s father and that Chuck was at least an Intersect at one point.

        Orion, Chuck and Sarah all go to Ellie’s wedding. Sarah agrees to go on the vacation with Chuck. Roarke, Fulcrum and the Ring capture Ellie and Devon while they are on their Honeymoon as a way to get to Orion who they still want to build their own.

        Bryce get’s captured during the download which is done in DC while Chuck and Sarah are off in Hawaii with Morgan and Anna. They are notified by Orion that Ellie and Devon are missing and Chuck asks Beckman to have Bryce help him find them and learns Bryce has been captured or couldn’t handle the 2.0 and is incapacitated. Chuck volunteers to have the new 2.0 uploaded because he realizes he needs the 2.0 to save Ellie and off we go.

        Work for you?

      • atcDave says:

        Wow Uplink, that sounds like a lot of fun too.

      • uplink2 says:

        You could end Ring with a shot of Chuck and Sarah on the beach in Maui and then cut to Ted Roarke knocking on Ellie and Devon’s Honeymoon suite.

        Hmm I may have to write this one day 😉

      • atcDave says:

        You know I’d be excited to read it!

      • aerox says:

        My way of continuing where Ring left off.

        Sarah: “Did you upload the Intersect.”
        Chuck: “Uh… yeah… whoops?”
        Casey: “Way to go, moron. Guess we’re stuck with you for another year.”
        Sarah: “Not really. They were going to cart off Bryce to Jakarta or something before I bailed on him. So I think that’s what they’re going to do.”
        Chuck: “What? Why?! Sarah, I’m not a spy.”
        Sarah: “I know, Chuck. It’s just… Casey, what can we do?”
        Casey: “So now that your boy-toy is in trouble, you decide I can stop being the fat kid?”
        *Sarah glares*
        Casey: *grunts*. Whatever. I don’t even care. Just keep it in your pants. What’s so bad about Bartowski becoming a spy.
        Chuck: “Can we please not do this in front of the Fulcrum, or Ring, or whatever they are, agents?”
        *Sarah produces zip-ties*
        Chuck: “Thank you.”
        *Sarah smirks, gives ties to Casey and they set to work.*

        *Later in Castle*

        “Will you run with me?”
        Chuck: “Don’t get me wrong, Sarah. I lo… care for you, a lot. But this might be one of the stupidest ideas ever. I mean, jeez, I’m the Intersect and you’re you. We’re trying to run from the freakin’ CIA. Seems kind of hard, don’t you think?”
        Sarah: “But we’ll be together. See you in Prague!”

        *Later in Prague*

        Sarah: “The train is about to leave. We have to go.
        Chuck: “Look here, Sarah. I think it’s awesome that you’re so fanatical about us, but I can’t go with you. Beckman thinks I can do some good and I think I can do some good too. I want to belong in your world, be your equal. I don’t want to be an asset that you have to protect forever.”
        Sarah: “BUT IT’S ALL A LIE!!!#!#!! *melodrama*”
        Chuck: “Ok, this clearly isn’t working, or the place for it. Tell you what, I’ll go with you on the train and we can talk it through. Whatever we decide, we’ll do. But just FYI, I still think this is a hare-brained plan.”
        Sarah: “k, deal.”

        *On the train*

        “And that’s why I think we should just finish this shizzle. Soon, I’ll be your equal and then it’s all good.”
        Sarah: “But you have to kill someone.”
        Chuck: “I could never kill someone. Well, maybe if you, Casey or my family were in danger, but other than that, I highly doubt I could just shoot someone point blank.”
        Sarah: “This is true. Okay, guess we’ll go back to the Czech Republic.”
        Chuck: “We could totally go look at the astronomy bell tower!”
        Sarah: “You’re such a geek.”
        Chuck: “Nerd.”
        Sarah: Hmm… but my nerd.

        *intro credit*

        Good enough?

      • atcDave says:

        Succinct and a much better start. But wasn’t the challenge to start after Colonel?

      • anthropocene says:

        I still see no reason to change anything at the end of S2, although it would have been nicer to keep Roark alive for future fun and evil, and Fulcrum in existence as the perpetual adversary (as CONTROL always had KAOS).

        Then in S3, we learn that Bryce wasn’t just blowin’ smoke when he told Stephen “you don’t wanna know” and begged Chuck to destroy the 2.0 because it was too dangerous.

        In S3, the 2.0 exacts a price for the “superpowers” it bestows—every so often it tries to take Chuck in dark and very un-Chucklike directions (like Laudanol but even more so)—perhaps even (gasp) an eagerness (!) to perform his own Red Test. Beckman loves it because she’s getting a new superagent. But the real lovable Chuck is still there of course, and desperately needs Sarah’s unconditional love and Casey’s gruff guidance to right himself (and perhaps the return of Stephen to make a real lasting fix to the 2.0 by season’s end, not some silly “governor”). All this as a backdrop to the normal weekly pattern of spy missions. Sarah and Casey really do have to “protect the world from Chuck”—that throwaway line from Beckman that I always thought had so much great unrealized plot potential. Shaw could still be brought in as a new and different CIA handler for Chuck, but instead of a TLI for Sarah, he is secretly tasked with offing Chuck if the 2.0 goes completely rogue (as Sarah obviously would never do that). I don’t think this version of an S3 would prove any more or less dark than the version we actually got, and there could still be all the B plots and Buy More silliness.

      • anthropocene says:

        Sorry, forgot…actually one small detail would have to change in the S2 finale—it’s Fulcrum going after the 2.0 in the end (perhaps under Roark’s orders) and killing Bryce, not the Ring.

      • atcDave says:

        I do like the idea of Shaw as the sort of security fail safe, that’s a possibility I haven’t seen anyone play with in a fan fiction. It could make him a hated villain before he turns rogue for legitimate character issues, not just because he’s an impediment to what we want to see on screen! Although I’m not so nuts about the Intersect zombie story. A few writers have played with variations on that, and it just leaves me cold every time; way too dark for my taste.
        But anything dispensing with the TLIs would be an improvement!

        I think the suggestion to make changes in S2 is just in response to Liz’s suggestion that if S2 truly ends at Colonel (as is often asserted) we should look at making our changes from that point forward instead of from Ring. I’m not not too worried about it, I think Ring potentially set up a great story (which is why I sometimes think of it as starting S3) but the execution was badly flawed. So I’m generally content to see people try to tell that story better.

      • aerox says:

        Dave, she said that Pink Slip is a necessary byproduct of Ring. I’m saying that’s not true at all.

      • atcDave says:

        Okay, that I completely agree with.

    • atcDave says:

      That is a really good question. And I must admit I normally think of where to go after Ring, not Colonel. If you don’t mind, I’d like to bring that up as part of the conversation for next week too.

      My first thought is just to say the Intersect IS a part of Chuck’s legacy. So even without one in his head, its not hard to imagine him getting sucked back into the spy world. It could be as simple as having him say yes to Beckman’s job offer. But the possibility I really like is having him take up the Orion mantle, as the new designer and tester for all things Intersect. Make Chuck the computer genius. Bonus points if Sarah insists on being his personal body guard, and they end up in a reverse cover relationship with a real relationship that they’re trying to convince the government is “purely professional”. Eventually Sarah quitting to be in Chuck’s direct employ (sort of the S5 scenario). Perhaps they can decide, at least for now, that Chuck is really the ONLY viable Intersect subject and he often ends up back in the field to test out his latest developments, patches and features on the program.
      I may put some more thought into that, but I think that would work for me as a starting point.

      • ninjaVanish says:

        Somebody’s probably already mentioned this idea:

        I’ve sometimes thought that what really derailed S3 was White Collar getting picked up to series removing Bryce from play. Which happened around the time Chuck vs the RING was shooting, right? I mean, in the pilot Bryce was shot in the friggin heart, (By CASEY no less) and he got better. A gut shot takes him down permanently? Please. Replace Shaw with Bryce throughout S3… And leave S3 almost exactly how we got it. It’s not nearly as aggravating, at least to me. Even the way they reintroduce Bryce in this scenario, with him faking his death immediately after being revealed to be alive? Awesomely self-referential and hilarious (to me).

        Bryce as Chuck’s mentor in becoming a spy? Makes perfect sense. Sarah becoming worried that Chuck is turning into Bryce… who she’s long since decided she doesn’t love? Makes perfect sense. Opening up about her concerns, and her real name to Bryce, who she’s known for years longer than she has Chuck? Again. Makes sense to me. Of course, having known Sarah as long as he has, Bryce would realize Sarah’s in a super vulnerable emotional state and isn’t a big enough jerk to renew a romantic relationship with her since he knows she’s still in love with Chuck. Bryce maybe even reassures her that Chuck isn’t changing as much as she thinks/shares some of her concerns for his ol’ college buddy. Plus the fact that it’s Chuck’s choice to become a spy, and Bryce is trying to make up for robbing Chuck of his right to make choices for himself back at Stanford with the cheating scandal? Character development for everyone!

        There’s a lot of great character moments that could be done with Bryce as both Sarah and Chuck’s FRIEND here. (The dinner Chuck crashes! It’s not even really a date! It’s Bryce being a good friend and trying to take Sarah’s mind off her recent disaster of a love life.) Of course the ending to that arc, with Bryce discovering Sarah killed his wife, takes on the same creepy undertones when you look back on their relationship pre-show. Add in the fact that Sarah was basically his rebound from the death of his wife, and happened to have killed said wife… AND Graham knew that when he partnered them up! Makes him changing sides to the Ring plausible. Also not divulging Chuck’s status as the Intersect makes sense. He’s not pissed at CHUCK. And then the standoff at the bridge/Chuck’s first real kill being a friend he’s known for years and has just really started reconciling with? His failure to talk Bryce down? Brutal. And good TV. Every episode we got from actual S3 seems better designed around the Bryce/Sarah/Chuck triangle than the Shaw/Sarah/Chuck triangle.

        Even some of the later stuff, that was so glaring and weird, like Sarah keeping those Earrings that now Bryce bought her in this scenario… is actually an interesting character beat. I can actually see Sarah doing that.

        It feels to me like Shaw could have been meant as a plug-n-play replacement for Bryce. The showrunners didn’t really bother doing any rethinking of the story arc when Bomer became unavailable. From a certain point of view, doing this kind of a character replacement makes more sense than tearing up the entire season outline and starting over from ground zero.

      • BillAtWork says:

        My problem with using Bryce that way is that it would the 3rd time that Sarah had to make that choice.

        Let;s assume for the sake of this argument that you’ve been told that C/S can’t be together this season until 3.13.

        Assuming Prague, I would have that be the issue. Sarah did what she had been trained not to do. She fell in love. She made herself vulnerable. And she got her heart handed back to her in a million pieces for her trouble. So now her decision is trust. Does she continue in a spy ‘relationship’ with Shaw? Move to Washington and become his partner? She doesn’t love him and he doesn’t love her, but he also can’t break her heart.

        Or does she take another chance on Chuck and risk it again?

        So I could see S3 being a series of things that happen to make Sarah fall for him again and get her to the point where she is considering staying and making herself vulnerable again.

        Climax in Other Guy where she makes her decision.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey NV! Nice surprise to see you dropping by!

        Some really fun ideas there. I think loosing Bomer did mess up their plans a lot. Although I was certainly ready for the Chuck/Sarah relationship to advance more quickly than it did, I think substituting Bryce for Shaw like you did would have made a vastly more enjoyable and believable story. It’s not quite a drop fit, but as you suggest, it works with fewer changes than I’d been thinking. Although Hannah the pointless distraction should have been eliminated completely, unless someone wrote some sort of silly stalker, drugged up fake sex scene… Sorry, I must be thinking of another show.
        And no doubt Bryce’s betrayal at that end would have been a kick in the gut, in a good way! We would have actually cared and felt both Chuck and Sarah’s pain; instead of just cheering the end of Shaw like we did. I might have even cheered the return of Bryce as a pure, deranged villain; instead of groaning like I did every time Shaw returned.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But why do we need the “Sarah killed his wife” plot? I’m guessing that Sarah has tons of enemies who would love to kill her. That was just an excuse to justify Routh.

        I never bought the story. They always say that in TV if you don’t see a body, he’s not dead. But in this case we saw the body, floating face down in the Seine (seems like an infection would kill you) with 3 bullets in his chest. So Chuck just left the body floating there? So somebody saves Shaw? With Casey there? And after being reported dead and a traitor, he shows back up, no questions asked and is in charge?

        This is beside the point. But how did Sarah get in bed wearing only Chuck’s shirt, lol?

      • atcDave says:

        Silly question Bill, Sarah was always wearing Chuck’s shirt under her coat…

      • BillAtWork says:

        I knew it had to be something like that. Thanks for clearing that up. 🙂

      • aerox says:

        The thing is though, ninja, every time the show has come close to what could be a dramatic moment, it’s like someone yanks on the emergency handle and just puts a stop to it by whacking in a gag or handwaving it away ASAP. As awesome as Chuck killing Bryce would be (though the wife angle would be completely idiotic imo, but whatever, it’s all good), they’d never explore it.

      • anthropocene says:

        Dave, I like this scenario, although It seems that making Chuck the new Orion would compel him to more or less embrace his Intersect legacy just as Orion rejected it. Your scenario raises the possibility of some permanent stable relationship to the Intersect in the long term, which is very intriguing (in fact, I’m going to continue to play with that idea in my pretend S6 FF).

      • atcDave says:

        Good point about stability. I guess that fits with how I see Chuck though, as more responsible and reliable than his dad.
        That would even be consistent with the idea of Chuck rising to the challenge as he did in Ring, to serve the greater good. But with the idea he wants to do it more as a researcher than as a field agent. Of course that never quite works, and Chuck still won’t stay in the car, especially if Sarah’s in danger. But I think it could have given Chuck more responsibility and authority, without totally upending the show’s S1/S2 team balance like canon S3 did.

    • JC says:

      Long time ladies and gents. Decided to pop in to say hi

      If they had switched the gender of Shaw and Hannah it would have done wonders for the season. Chuck and Sarah a get legitimate chance at the lives the they think they want but with someone else. Chuck gets his spy g/f without the baggage of being her former asset. Sarah gets her normal guy without the fear of him being killed or kidnapped because of the Intersect. This gives their choice of being with each other more meaning without it seeming like they ended up with each other by default.

      Think about the scene in Fake Name with Shaw choking Chuck, flip that around with Chuck using the Intersect to beat up Sarah’s normal bf? There’s the moment of rock bottom the character needed. Chuck gets a real wake up call that he’s changed and not for the better. The same with poison gas scene in The Mask have Chuck and the new female spy in the room together. Think of Sarah’s reaction if the female spy called Chuck her partner and hero. Sarah sees that Chuck can work with another female spy who’s just as attracted to him as she .Even the murdered spouse plot works better since we as viewers spend more time with Chuck and by default whoever he’s dating. The character might have gotten more sympathy from the viewers that way.

      My version probably wouldn’t have been well received by certain fans but I do think it was different enough that it might have staved off fatigue people had with the repetitive nature of the love triangles they told for three straight seasons.

      • atcDave says:

        Well JC it has been a while! But I gotta ask, are you trying to bait me? No doubt your suggestion sounds completely awful to me! The only way to reduce wt/wt fatigue is to end it. I might have accepted certain different types, of purely external obstacles, but definitely not what you propose, that would have been fully as bad as what we saw!

      • BillAtWork says:

        It’s good creative thinking, JC. But that wouldn’t work for me. Because it would invalidate the reasons they have been telling us for 2 seasons why they aren’t together in the first place.

        Chuck was looking for a normal girl, not an agent.

        Sarah was all duty all the time and couldn’t be a GF. Her priority was always going to be the mission.

        So if thoese reasons are no longer (or never were) real, why can’t they just be together now?

        Somebody has to explain First Class to me. Chuck broke Sarah’s heart in Prague, she was convinced that he didn’t love her, and she never wanted to see him again. But that basically healed, a lot in Three Words but also in the first 4 episodes. Chuck is clearly pining for her and actively trying to get back where they were.

        In First Class, it’s clear that Sarah is almost there. She pleads with him to not go on this dangerous assignment because she is worried about him. Chuck is there with her. But not only does he throw it in her face that he is going, he comes home with a new girlfriend.

        Then, not 2 weeks later, he’s back to pining for her again.

        That’s what drove me crazy about S3. Not the budget. Not that C/S weren’t together. It’s that the characters we had come to know changed into ones we didn’t recognize, then changed back. From scene to scene we didn’t know which Chuck we were seeing.

        Same with Sarah. It’s hard to root for characters that you don’t know.

      • atcDave says:

        First Class was also a breaking point of sorts for me too Bill. Although I won’t try to deny I did require Chuck and Sarah to be together at that point for me to be completely happy with the show. But if things had continued to improve after Operation Awesome I might not have been as grumpy, and downright hostile as I was with things.
        But yeah, we see Sarah in full blown over-protective mama lioness mode, which I always enjoy seeing by the way; while Chuck is off flirting with another girl. Ohhhh that episode made me so, so angry. I just flat out hated Chuck in that episode. And I felt that way during Hannah’s entire run on the show, I just completely hated Chuck during those episodes (I’ve had a couple of close friends pull stunts like this, and I just want to smack them!). And it comes right back just talking about it now. It’s impossible for me to like a “story” when I loath the main character, and that’s exactly where we’ll be for a few weeks after First Class too. Things start to get a little better at Beard, but by then I won’t like Sarah much for a while. Somehow that doesn’t seem the best way to run a show.

      • uplink2 says:

        Well I think this idea has some merit and welcome back JC but that merit is only based on at least doing something different. That is part of one of the biggest reasons I hated the S3 OLI geometry. There is absolutely no difference between Hannah and Lou. Hannah is a clone and it is simply a repetitive trip back to territory already covered and resolved. If I wanted to relive Lou I just could have watched my DVD’s.

        Shaw is as I said in the other thread a huge step down in terms of any believability that Sarah would be interested in him compared to both Bryce and Cole not mentioning Chuck at all.. Those two were real heroes and great spies. We saw that from the moment they were introduced. Shaw was portrayed as creepy from the beginning and never once shown to be a great spy. By the end of First Class there was nothing appealing about him as a character. Even not knowing the OLI disaster was coming I wanted him gone. Then the next time he returns in Mask Sarah does a 180 in one episode? I am very curious why they decided to delete the scene with Sarah questioning his motives. It was about the only time she was a good spy in that arc.

        I can go along with changing it up and flipping the types of OLI’s though I would only want them to remain “P” versions. But what we got and I think JC’s point is that they were redundant. Nothing new was learned from them at all. Especially Hannah. Shaw as both a spy and a LI simply doesn’t come close to matching up to Bryce or Cole not even talking about Chuck. For Sarah to be interested you have to make her a flake and a lousy spy.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Uplink that’s a big part of why Sarah became an unsympathetic character for a while; Shaw was portrayed as such a total jerk and loser I couldn’t fathom anything, anything at all she found appealing about him. Shaw was as appealing as chewing aspirin whole, and about as interesting too. (Hey, it’s tough to come up with something that’s both revolting and boring!)
        Of course I still see no appeal in any triangles at all. But funny thing is, by the end First Class I remember thinking there might not actually be anything to the Shaw spoilers we were seeing, Shaw was so contemptible and Sarah seemed so disinterested…
        I was thinking things might get better as soon as the Hannah stupidity was over.

      • BillAtWork says:


        It’s funny about Hannah. I remember at the time we were all speculating that she couldn’t be what she seemed. A low level computer tech (her next job was in the nerd herd) who regularly flies first class to Paris, meets Chuck on his first assignment, and then shows up at the Buy More.

        They were giving us clues that Hannah was a spy of some kind, right? We were racking our brains trying to figure out who she really worked for. Shaw? The Ring? The CIA? Except that the joke was on us. They weren’t clues, they were just that inattentive to the details of their story. Nobody in the writer’s room pointed out that a first class ticket from LA to Paris costs more than Hannah would make in a year.

        It’s the kind of detail that this show simply never sweated.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Bill I spent a big part of the season putting out my “Shaw’s Evil Plan” posts where I tried to puzzle out what might be really going on with the characters and story. A recurring theme of mine was that there had to be some big conspiracy or secret that would make sense of everything we were seeing. But of course, ultimately there was not. Which was kind of a big shocking reveal in its own right. But not at all in a good way.

        And talking about Hannah really brought that all back to me. I think few of us believed there was as little to her character as we were seeing. She had to mean something? She had to tie into the story somehow?
        Apparently, she was there just to make Chuck look like a stupid faithless whore.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Yeah, Dave,

        I’ll save my full rant on First Class until we get there. And this isn’t even close to the top of the list. But Shaw’s idea of supporting Chuck was to put his plane into an uncontrolled dive without being able to see what the situation even was. How did he know if that would help Chuck or hurt him?

        And what about the real pilots of that plane? The ones who just lost total control of their aircraft flying over the Atlantic for ten minutes? Doesn’t that incident become front page news for every news outlet in the world? Would they really fly that same plane back to LA without some serious mantenance?

        I get that we’ve taken a vow to not sweat the details. But I’m dying to know what happened in the writer’s room when they discussed this. Did nobody point out the absurdity? Were they overruled? Not care?

      • garnet says:

        The deleted scene where Sarah is questioning Shaw’s motives and looks like she is going to play him could almost have redeemed the whole arc. If we acept that anything to do with SHAM is a sham, and Sarah is working an angle (not telling Chuck due to “orders”), her behavious could (almost) be explained. HUCK (is there a better Hannah/Chuck abreviation?) on the other hand is an abomination no matter what way you look at it. It turns Chuck from a character I liked and admired into someone I, at that point, really disliked.

      • atcDave says:

        I completely agree with all of that Garnet. I wonder at what point they dumped the Sarah conning Shaw angle. They obviously had considered some of the same angles we all considered when plotting out the season, but they just choose about the worst imaginable way of doing things.

      • uplink2 says:

        I’ve been waiting to repost this because when I first read it I thought it was such a perfect description of so many things about Lou 2.0 I mean Hannah:

        lizjames says:
        February 13, 2010 at 6:49 am

        Just remember here: There is ZERO chance of Hannah being a total innocent. That she is not what she seems was revealed weeks and weeks ago by some journalist.

        So one part of the game is obvious: Hannah works for someone: Shaw, Beckman, Sarah, a third party, Orion, Buy More corporate, etc. The only people I exempt is Casey (he would have deployed her when Chuck was in trouble in First Class) and the Ring. (Why wouldn’t they have used her on the plane after the other agents failed…unless, of course, she was deep for them long term.)

        BTW, the reason she is NOT an innocent from the storytelling perspective is that there is no lesson to be learned by Chuck if she is. Chuck has already “lost” an innocent by being in the spy world (Lou) and he already KNOWS how high the cost of being a spy is to the ones he cares about. So Hannah has to be about something else…

        Zero chance, not an innocent because from a storytelling perspective there is no lesson to be learned if she is. Liz was and is still dead on in her logic. Unfortunately Schwedak weren’t. This was posted BEFORE Fake Name aired and is such a great example of folks desperately trying find any kind of logic in the story choices. Fans were trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and make sense of what they were seeing. But the joke was on us. The most unlikely and pointless scenario was in fact the accurate one. It baffles me as much today as it did to Liz back then.

      • BillAtWork says:

        That’s funny, Uplink.

        Yeah, nobody believed she was an innocent. It was Mel from ChuckTV who, citing inside sources, spoiled that Hannah “wasn’t who she seemed to be.”

        That has happened to me so many times on this show. Trying to guess what was going to happen next became so frustrating. Because your guess had to make sense or someone would make fun of you. And what actually happened rarely did.

      • aerox says:

        Well, for what it’s worth, she wasn’t who she appeared to be. She appeared to be a nobody but because of that, people thought there was more to her. But that’s the beauty and ingenuity of Fedak (Schwartz was pretty much an associate producer at this point in time, IIRC). He masterfully conned us by not making her be what she appeared to be, that is, relevant in any way, shape or form.

        Was this sarcastic enough?

      • garnet says:

        Well, if you use the logic that she seemed to be “something” (Spy/Corperate/Ring/Shaw’s minion,) based on the story-telling we were given, the fact that she wasn’t anyof those means that she was not what she seemed. 😉

      • BillAtWork says:

        So what you’re saying is that Fedak is actually an evil genius? Always one step ahead of us? He knows that we know that he knows…

        I guess that I never considered that, lol.

      • garnet says:

        Looks like my note was being composed as you posted!!

      • aerox says:

        Loving the hivemind Garnet!

      • uplink2 says:

        The sad part about that is it is probably exactly what the source meant when Mel leaked that. She seems like she has to have some reason for her existence, but in reality she’s completely pointless.

      • atcDave says:

        We were all convinced there had to be more to her character, it just boggles the mind that there wasn’t.

        Aerox I’m pretty sure Schwartz was still the top dog. At least going INTO S3 Fedak had deferred several interview comments with the “this is still Josh’s show” line. They may have transitioned during the S3.5 episodes, or the summer after. But you are correct there was a change-over during the show, at some point.

        But all the PLI stuff is very much JS’ style, he actually brags about that stuff. And I don’t think CF really cares for it so much. It may be the end of wt/wt was a perfectly natural time for the changing of the guard. That is certainly when they started bringing on new writers.

      • joe says:

        Sorry this took me so long to get to…

        @Uplink (re: Hannah)

        Zero chance, not an innocent because from a storytelling perspective there is no lesson to be learned if she is.

        Um, no, and I disagree, Uplink. There is a lesson to be learned.

        It is through her that Chuck learns something important – he’s a jerk. She tells him to his face and she’s right. A jerk is exactly what Chuck has become while trying to become a spy; that is her purpose in the story, and it’s why she must be an innocent. She is telling us (and Chuck) the truth. We can believe her.

        Yeah, I know that you’re saying “But that *is* pointless!” to yourself, but again, it’s not pointless to everyone. In fact, that being a spy changes Chuck exactly the way Sarah feared from the first (from The Ring, actually), is a main thread throughout the season.

      • atcDave says:

        And Joe THAT is a massive problem. We ‘re talking about a show that was billed as escapist (by Schwedak), and now they’re giving us half a season of contemptible. It’s one thing to have Chuck learn such a lesson in a specific down beat episode, but that was half the front arc! If I wanted a jerk protagonist I’d watch, well, most of the other shows on television. But we spend two years getting attached to a nice guy hero and then they give us a prolonged jerk arc. Even worse, many of us fought hard to save a quirky and unique show, that then tried morph into just another show that followed all the tropes and cliches.

        As I have often said. I don’t even care if sense can be made of the story, it’s not the entertainment I signed up for.

      • uplink2 says:


        And is that anything different than he learned from Lou? No. It is redundant. We already saw he was a jerk in Pink Slip and he realized it in Three Words. He was a jerk again in First Class. And he wasn’t a jerk in Fake Name he was a selfish, douchebag, asshole. Pointless redundant lessons and something well worth taking 4 episodes to tell us about their lead character. Geesh.

      • joe says:

        Dave, I can make a lot more sense out of your argument, that this is not what you signed up for, than I can of Uplink’s, which is, “there is no universe in which *that* happens.”

        I can’t even say that Chuck being a jerk is enjoyable – although I didn’t really think that was in a prolonged arc (I thought the Chuck-as-jerk part really lasted only one half of one episode, after which begins the rehabilitation). In fact, it’s painful. It’s meant to be and that has a way of making the whole thing less cartoon-ish and much much more real.

        Which means that those episodes struck me as personal again. They called to mind those times I was a jerk, even when I was trying not to be, which is a real as it gets, you know? I can understand that they weren’t entertaining, especially if something like that is outside the viewer’s experience or outside their comfort zone. I can’t ever think that they were arbitrary or unintentionally stupid, which is what I feel some of the comments – not yours – have been leading too in the past. I can’t even say that they were mistaken, even if I know that they were “true” only to my experience!

      • joe says:

        Crossed comments, Uplink.

        I must say, I don’t see the redundancy with the Lou story at all, Uplink. Lou was never there to show Chuck he was a jerk – quite the opposite, in fact. She was there to show him that his “normal” life might include her. He had to decide between that and the being The Intersect then, between her and Sarah. Besides, he wasn’t a jerk back then. He was just Chuck Bartowski, not a hero.

        As for later, I’m not sure that he’s a jerk in Pink Slip either. I assume you’re talking about Prague? Turning down Sarah at that point sure was a surprise – and honestly, I don’t think I could have done that, had I ever been the Intersect and working for the CIA…

        But what he does is not a spur of the moment, selfish act. He doesn’t intend to leave Sarah – he doesn’t realize that she doesn’t want him to be a spy and change the way he’ll need to in order to do that. He thinks he’s taking a step towards being someone – not a nobody (and he claims to be a nobody to Javier before the episode is over).

        And Sarah admits that she was being impulsive. If Chuck is wrong, it’s not because he’s being a jerk and abandoning the girl he loves. It’s because he wants to be more than the nobody he’s going to become when he falls.

        You’re stating your POV forcefully, Uplink, and that’s okay. But you gotta see by all the discussion S3 has generated that it can’t be dismissed easily.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe Chuck was a jerk in Prague because of how he handled the situation, not for what he did. He shot down Sarah’s big escape plan without making sure she was okay, and they were okay.
        He was a jerk in every single way about Hannah, he was flirting with, then getting intimate with her, all in the immediate aftermath of having told Sarah he loved her. He was being horribly disrespectful of BOTH women. I just felt I was watching maybe a different Josh Schwartz show for half a season, and that still makes me angry.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Dave, Joe, Uplink, and all,

        Yeah, ‘Jerk’ is the wrong word. It’s impossible to understate the gesture that Sarah was making to him when she offered to run. And he handed her this ticket with zero explanation.

        So then he pines for her again, works to get her to forgive him. And when she finally in on the cusp of forgiving him, he rubs in her face that he is going on a mission… and comes home with a new girl to boot. Of course the most annoying part is that 10 minutes after banging the new girl, he’s back to pining for Sarah.

        Sarah isn’t much better. Her fear that she didn’t want Chuck to be a spy would have meant a lot more if it was consistent. But the very instant that he agreed to quit and run with her, she decided that being spies wasn’t so bad after all.

        And that’s my problem. Sure, taking the events one at a time in isolation, you can micro justify them.

        Taking the story from a macro view, it simply doesn’t work. When it is entertaining enough, well, that can be overlooked. But S3 was neither entertaining or make sense.

      • Think about the scene in Fake Name with Shaw choking Chuck, flip that around with Chuck using the Intersect to beat up Sarah’s normal bf?
        Why would Chuck be beating up Sarahs rnormal boyriend there is no reason. are you making Chuck Insane. No does not work for me art all.
        ‘Even the murdered spouse plot works better since we as viewers spend more time with Chuck and by default whoever he’s dating’
        Are you saying that Chuck killed his new girlfriends former husband (and if so how/when)or that Sarah did and then he has to choose who to save Sarah or his new G/freind when they almost kill each other? To me that would have been much worse than what wwe got and repeating his decision to arrest Jill in season 2.

    • ArmySFC says:

      i think i’ll take a stab at it. after colonel it begins with them in DC waiting for the inevitable debrief (well in RL that would be the case) its here they admit their feelings out loud and consummate it. this validates what when have seen so far. they discuss like adults options they have. they know they need to make concessions if they want to be together. so Chuck agrees to be an analyst, work in R&D, or as a consultant. Sarah takes a sabbatical from field work. does anyone really believe the only agents the CIA has are deep cover ones? does anyone think that just because the project is over Chuck would be safe from people trying to get him and using him? does anyone think that Beckman would want to lose such a valuable asset that is Chuck?

      those ideas could work for season three and beyond. Sarah is allowed to be with him for protection, the asset handler thing is gone. they can then go anywhere they want in season three. Chuck is asked to do the 2.0 because the villain is so bad they can’t win without him, Chuck wanting to be in the field (like Bones and Booth). they could have slowly worked up to them both being agents but together in a way that suited them both.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I like the idea of Chuck being asked to upload 2.0 because of a threat so large that only an intersect 2.0 could deal with it. It still allows Chuck to the the reluctent hero, which I think was much of his charm that he lost trying to become a spy.

        I also think that dovetails well into C/S wanting (desperately) to be together, but not allowed to be. Shaw could have been the expert on the threat and the eagle eye making sure that they stayed apart (and having the hots for Sarah himself).

        A decision that has me scratching my head is why did they allow other people to upload the intersect. Part of the reason Chuck was so valuable was that he was unique. Once anybody could become an intersect, why would the CIA choose Chuck. His charm was that he was the anti-spy. He solved problems using his emotions that spies were trained to ignore as an asset.

        So I would have that be a plot point Shaw/Bryce would be jealous of Chuck. They trained for years. They dedicated their lifes. And here is the nerd from a BuyMore suddenly ahead of them on the duty roster. And the hot blonde loves him because he has all this power. Naturaly that’s not true.

        So ditch the silly ‘Sarah killed his wife’ plot. Shaw uploads the intersect out of jealousy and it drives him insane.

        There was a throw away line in Bo (a throw away episode, lol). Quinn loooks at Sarah admiringly. “You don’t get that without an Intersect.” At the time when Sarah wakes up in her hotel room, I fully expected her to think herself Quinn’s lover (glad I was wrong, lol).

        Anyway, I would play that theme. Everybody thinks that Sarah admires Chuck because he is the 2.0 superman. Even Chuck fears that. But it is the opposite. Sarah is in love with the nerd. She actually perfers that he not be the intersect and not in constant danger.

        So that would be Sarah’s new conflict. She has to keep this reluctent hero safe in a world that he doesn’t truly understand. But she also longs for the day when they can get out of the live and have the house with the red door.

        That allows you to go in many ways. Chuck could get intoxicated with the power and maybe get in over his head. But I would never have Chuck be able to be sucessful on his own without Sarah and Casey.

      • atcDave says:

        Excellent ideas, both you guys. In talking about Shaw you sort of get to something we discussed before the season ever ran that works for me; that is making the “P” in PLI mean something. It could be played effectively for laughs if Shaw (and Hannah) are in hot pursuit of Sarah (and Chuck), but our heroes want nothing to do with them. If Chuck and Sarah are still not supposed to be together for some reason they could really be scrambling to fend off unwanted advances. THAT could have been a fun story.

      • BillAtWork says:

        And it would have met all their objectives. You could have still kept them apart. You could still have all the UST you wanted. Except that we would believe the reason. We wouldn’t be able to wait for Monday to look for any sign that it was working out. Every 3rd episode or so, you could have a scene with them kissing in the dark, reaffirming their love, and telling each other (and us, lol) to hang in there. It would have been romantic and uplifting instead of miserable.

        And when you finally put them together, they would have earned it. They would jealously protect each other because they worked so hard to get there.

  7. ninjaVanish says:

    I’m not trying to justify the way CF and JS’ minds work or write a new S3 AU here. I was just positing the theory that Shaw was originally meant to be Bryce, and that it would have been a better story by undoing that substitution. Also that following through into S3.5 and later it still holds together better than should be expected were that not close to the original plan. Things like Sarah and the earrings in late S3 could be construed as left-over artifacts of the previous storyline that got left in because the writers were overly attached to story-beats from the original outline. I find this kind of thing fascinating as a writer.

    There’s a history in TV and other media, of Editorial and/or other unavoidable outside factors, like Bomer getting the lead in a TV show of his own, altering the narrative flow of a story in just such a fashion.

    (Deleted giant rant about Spider-man stories ‘Sins Past’ and ‘One More Day’ here. The Spider-man equivalent of S3…)

    • BillAtWork says:

      I could see that working, NV. If you say that Sarah’s heart was broken in Prague, she didn’t trust Chuck anymore, and decided that love wasn’t in her future. Bryce could be assigned to get Chuck into spy shape and once he was, he and Sarah were going to get reassigned to Washington.

      I think that Bryce probably wouldn’t be as noble as you’re saying. He wants Sarah for himself. And I wouldn’t have the killing his wife plot. But I like Sarah’s general conflict. She chose love over duty once and got burned. Can she do it again?

      Not sure where Hannah fits into that, but she could.

      My only heartburn is that would be the 3rd time that she had to make that same decision between Chuck and Bryce. But if Chuck can have 20 epiphanys that he loves Sarah, why not? 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Ideally I think the love triangle stories should have been left behind in S2. But I do think it could have worked better, and in a way that was less damaging to the regard I had for Sarah in particular if Bryce had filled that roll.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Exactly. It wouldn’t be Bryce vs Chuck. Not really. Maybe to Bryce.

        But it would be love vs fear of love. It would be Sarah playing it safe vs having been burned once, taking a risk.

  8. ninjaVanish says:

    I kind of agree that the killing of the wife plot is silly and melodramatic, but that’s the show. It’s always been kind of silly and melodramatic.
    And anyway, the ‘choice’ between Chuck and Bryce/Shaw was kind of taken away from Sarah when the guy went nuts and started trying to kill her. That was a lot of people’s peeve with Other Guy, Sarah winds up with Chuck almost by default. Maybe that’s just another artifact of the giant Bryce-Shaw switcheroo. Having her choose between Bryce and Chuck a third time seemed stale, so: crazy melodrama and Bryce’s never before mentioned wife!

    • BillAtWork says:

      But didn’t she choose Chuck earlier? In Castle before she left. “When I get back it’s all going to happen. You and me. Just one more mission.”

      People concentrate on the DYLM scene. That scene when Sarah is finally committing to Chuck that they are now a couple is my favorite.

      I don’t think that Shaw/Bryce needs to be a villain. Sarah’s choice of love with the risk of heartbreak vs duty with always being alone is dramatic enough.

      • atcDave says:

        Sarah did make the choice before Shaw went nuts, but just barely. I do think Shaw needed to turn villain at some point; but I always think the real tragedy is just that because of the love triangles, we were rooting for it to happen. He was a villain in viewers eyes even before he turned on Sarah.
        If they cut the love triangle entirely, you could have Shaw as a mentor and friend to Chuck, and a professional partner to Sarah. Then his betrayal would actually have some dramatic consequence. We would agonize with Chuck instead of just cheering when he pumped bullets into Shaw.
        The decision to make it a soap opera directly undermined the dramatic merits of the story.

    • uplink2 says:

      Lots of things about Other Guy that are off. Sarah never officially breaks up with Shaw and even after committing to Chuck “It’s all gonna happen, you and me” she is seen walking arm in arm with Shaw on the streets of Paris. She also never apologized to Chuck for not trusting him at the beginning of AH.

      One of the many things I hate about AH/OG is how terrible they made all the spies in those episodes. My god Morgan is the best spy for crying out loud.

      Chuck fanboying on Shaw, not seeing the fake video, etc

      Sarah not questioning why she had no cell service from downtown LA to the desert. Not noticing Shaw wearing his wedding ring. Leaving her hotel with Shaw without her gun. Not realizing where he was taking her till she was actually there. I mean it was the worst moment of her life, she should have remembered anything about it. Not questioning Paris, Shaw and her Red test location before they even left. Not asking for backup.

      The Director not showing up at a secure Ring facility but showing up with little backup on the streets of Paris.

      Beckman allowing the “hero” mission with no proof the Director was going to actually be there. Ordering a B2 Stealth bombing in downtown LA lol. Never once questioning Shaw and trusting him over Chuck.

      Shaw swallowing a tracker and not expecting they would scan him.

      The list goes on and on. But it all gets wiped because its ep 13 and they have to put them together.

  9. Bill says:

    The other thing that those of us who weren’t online before S3 didn’t know was that the show’s budget would be cut so significantly. The showrunners’ poor decisions diminished the characters, and the lower budget diminished the look, sound, and feel of the show. I remember thinking that something was off when Pink Slip first aired. It finally hit me during the gunfight scene in the back lot at Warner Bros., I mean Mexico. Costs were being cut, and in a big way. In retrospect, there’s something almost metaphorical about the cheapened look the show had in S3. It was something less than it had been.

    • atcDave says:

      It did make a difference. Although to be fair, I don’t consider this anyone’s fault, other than hard times in the industry. But funny observation about the symbolism!

      • Bill says:

        I’m sure the budget cuts were not the showrunners’ choice, and no one’s fault. I do think, though, that there was some synergy between the poor storylines and the lower production values in bringing about the fans’ negative reaction to S3. The show lost alot of its epic-ness on at least these two levels.

      • lappers84 says:

        It’s also pretty important to keep in mind, by the time the s@#t hit the fan they neither had the time nor the money to actually reshoot things – hence the plea to fans to bare with them.

        Also wasn’t the restaurant scene in AM shot early on – perhaps why it seemed so off?

      • garnet says:

        It’s off topic, but the “bare with them” above has me in a bit of a funk.
        Here it is March 21st and I am looking at about 4 feet of snow with drifts of snow over 6 feet (total winter record snowfall of 196cm), and a temperature of -15C (about 10 degeresF) with a wind chill of -15F. Our normals are MUCH better than this-we should be seeing tulips peeking up through the ground. I am really getting tired of winter….but now they are predicting flooding when all the snow melts. I think I’ll just skip spring and move directly to summer…just like skipping season 3 :).

      • atcDave says:

        Lappers I don’t know when the restaurant scene was shot, but I know we did see a brief clip of it early during the extended preview that was released during the Winter Olympics that year. We all did jump to false conclusions about seeing Chuck and Sarah out on a date, I sure was crushed when we finally saw the scene in context. But at least the misery arc truly was almost over at that point, and I was feeling a load off by the time that episode ended.

        Wow Garnet, major snowfall! We’re pretty cold for March in Michigan too, but nothing record setting. 20 ish, just a little cool. As the saying goes for March in Michigan; in like a lion, out like a lion…
        At least snow is fairly rare in May…

      • uplink2 says:

        But the first “bear with them” came from Ali Adler and that was either August or September of 09. At most they had shot Operation Awesome and probably less than that. My feeling is that she did it when writing Fake Name so there was plenty of time to avoid us having to “bear with them.” I do realize that it is difficult to almost impossible to do but the PR disaster was already in full swing.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But in fairness, they had already pitched a storyline to the network and got renewed based upon that. If we knew the truth, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did soften some things and that’s why it doesn’t make some sense.

        Hannah ended up being in one less episode than we were told.

      • garnet says:

        Thanks Dave. In Saskatchewan we generally keep any snow we get for the whole season. None of that Snowfall/Melt to the grass /Snowfall for us. As I write virtually all the highways in the southern half of the province are either closed or “travel not reccommended” (that would be an area about 560X400 miles). I could have accepted it in early March but this is less and less fun all the time.

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh I get that Bill but do you actually think they get that in depth in their pitch where every episode is discussed? Wouldn’t it seem much more likely that it is an over arching story plan?

        Also where are all these leaks about contract extensions of Routh or episode totals for Hannah? Can I read them anywhere?

      • atcDave says:

        Again, I don’t believe the network cared, they certainly never voiced any concerns. We do know they presented the end point, the Paris hotel, as part of their grand scheme, along with Chuck’s struggles with the Intersect. But beyond that I don’t remember hearing anything specific being pitched to NBC.
        Remember, one of NBC’s showcase shows, Office, was just coming off of a big ratings bump from its prime time wedding. And NBC saw Chuck as nothing more than emergency filler. We were mostly under the radar. I would be seriously surprised if NBC gave any input at all on Chuck story ideas.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I wish I could help about the interviews, but I’ve read hundreds of them. Some are just re-edits of others, or actors saying what the writers told them to, or critics quoting writers, or fans paraphrasing critics quoting actors, or…. Well you get the point. I’ve seen so many interviews, and in many cases just don’t remember the source. I know you’ve poked around in our archives, those can be an excellent source. You can try google too, I always seem to have mixed success with that, especially dealing with stuff four years old now.
        I will try to be clear about who said what when I can remember. And I will list sources when I remember too. I sure am glad I’m not being graded on this!

  10. resaw says:

    Carrying on the weather theme, Garnet, were you aware that it was -3 C (about 27 F) in Iqaluit today? Warmer than it was here in London, Ontario, let alone anywhere in Saskatchewan.

    Back to Chuck, and in particular, the discussion about Hannah, I appreciate all of the comments, especially the recollection of things back when the episodes first ran. I remember, not thinking that those particular episodes were worth a re-watch, at first, but eventually I decided that they were a necessary part of Chuck’s story. Now having said that, I am suggesting that something like “Huck” had to happen, but that, since it happened, I wanted to re-watch it. Someone above suggested, I think, that Chuck was being quite flirtatious with Hannah. I will of course be re-watching, again, shortly, but as I recall, Hannah seemed to be more of the “aggressor” in the relationship. And Chuck, emotionally wounded and upset about Sarah (albeit largely accomplished by his own actions), was happy to receive and respond to Hannah’s advances. After all, she was the one who moved to Burbank to take up a job at the Buy More so that she could be with Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      I can’t deny Hannah was the stalker. But Chuck sure made it easy for her; and he definitely did flirt, even in the very first episode with her.
      I am just not sympathetic of his position at that time; he was making headway with the woman he just claimed to love, even had a “cleaning up their mess” talk. And then he gets distracted by a pretty face.

      I also would not claim it was “unbelievable”. But it was the first time in the series I completely disliked Chuck, and it lasted far too long. Like so much that happened in the misery arc; if it had been a far briefer period (like a single episode) and been dialed WAY back (absolutely no sleeping with her) I might have been able to overlook it.
      But they did way too much for way too long, and delivered 9 episodes in that front 13 that I just can’t stand. I won’t even try to re-watch. I see this as product that’s fully as defective as a car with no engine. And just like that defective car, I may forgive the manufacturer and give them another chance (I did with Chuck, and I loved S4 and S5), but I will never call the defect anything other than unacceptable.

    • joe says:

      Resaw, I’m a little familiar with London. I passed through it (on the 401, correct?) on my way from Detroit to Buffalo more than a few times. Only had one trip that was horrendous – I was in a snow storm from just outside London to Buffalo. The trip took me 10 hours.

      In hindsight, I can’t believe I made it without ending up in a ditch somewhere.

      I have the impression too that Hannah was being flirtatious. I’m not quite up there on my rewatch (and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a few of those S3 episodes) but hadn’t Chuck and Sarah reached an accommodation where they decided to be “just friends” (albeit, with a very long handshake that left us wondering)?

      I’m pretty sure that by First Class, they were both determined to be no more than that and were focused on being professional partners immediately after. Romantically? There were free to go their own ways and maybe even determined to do so.

      • atcDave says:

        Free to go their own ways is the exact thing I don’t buy. Seriously, was Sarah’s reaction to Chuck at the start of First Class that of a mere friend? No way. Perhaps that’s the biggest part of the disconnect to me, it so clearly wasn’t over, it angers me that they tried to pretend it was. Again, not necessarily unbelievable that someone would be so stupid, but not something I would ever consider entertainment either. I can only call it broken product.

      • uplink2 says:

        Exactly. Plus that hug at the end of Angel wasn’t that of a “friend” either. Sarah is obviously still very much in love with Chuck, she is beginning to forgive him and they are reconnecting. Just ask Ellie. She saw it just like we did. They weren’t determined to be no more than partners. Chuck is really going to want to be just partners 2 weeks after telling Sarah he loved her and did it all for her? That’s why First Class and Chuck’s behavior is just so ridiculous. The entire first part of the season it’s like they wanted them both to be bipolar. Sarah is bipolar in just one episode. There was no consistency of character for either of them.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I find myself having to constantly remind myself that these are fictional characters. But yeah, Bipolar is a good word.

        It had been a pattern with the show. Chuck would pine for her, they would make some progress, and just when Sarah was about to give up and allow it to happen, Chuck would find some way to reject her, only to immediately start pining again.

        It’s fine (stupid but fine) for Chuck in Breakup to decide that Sarah would never be normal enough for the kind of relationship he was looking for. It was even fine for him to fall on his sword and tell her that to protect her. But having made that decision (for whichever reason) what changed the next week when he starts pining for her again? Even if you argue that he didn’t pursue her again until Santa (which I reject), what changed in those few weeks? She could suddenly become normal? He no longer wanted to protect her? It was clear maniputaion to reset UST.

        It’s fine (stupid but fine) to decide that he was called to be a hero and that meant a relationship with Sarah wouldn’t be in the cards. But having made that decision, he starts pining for her again immediately. It was clear manipuation to reset UST.

        We kinda let those first two slide. But in First Class, she was clearly emotional and clearly hurting. Forget being a romantic couple, he wasn’t even a decent friend. And even that’s fine (stupid but fine) to decide that Sarah isn’t the girl for him and to pursue this hot babe who is hitting on him on the plane. But having made the decision, he starts pining for her again immediately. It was clear manipulation to reset UST.

        That’s why Beard (I don’t get why everyone says it was a good episode) was so annoying for me. Chuck has an epiphany. He loves Sarah. Come on Chuck. Or rather come on, Chris. Do you really think that we haven’t watched the previous episodes? That we don’t know this is the 4th time he’s had that same exact epiphany? Why should we believe this one?

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I can understand Chuck being in love with Sarah, but thinking, for a variety of reasons, that he has no future with her. And I can even appreciate that would make working with her excruciating at times as he has no relief from his dilemma in sight. That was actually a compelling part of the UST in the first two seasons. But it breaks down in S3 for several reasons I can think of; first is their “misunderstanding” in Prague is based on just ridiculously bad communications (of the, “I feel like we’re being manipulated” variety), next they had talked about “cleaning up their mess” and being friends quite quickly (which looks an awful lot like progress to me, no cause for being discouraged), and finally is that Sarah was clearly showing the same sort of dedication and loyalty to Chuck that she always had. But the biggest reason it needed to end was just pure viewer fatigue. Obviously TPTB thought they could get one more round out of it, and obviously some viewers agree, but a significant number of us were beyond tired of it. More like POed about it.
        But back to internal issues; no matter how much Chuck may have thought he needed to “move on” (which as I just said seems a ridiculous conclusion from what was on screen), pursuing another woman is tacky and unfair to everyone involved. It’s unfair to Sarah who actually still loves him, it’s grossly unfair to Hannah who becomes merely a diversion, and it’s even unfair to Chuck for wasting time with a second choice. So no doubt, I despise First Class, horrible episode, and the most contemptible we’ve seen Chuck yet.
        And Bill I agree about Beard. It may be one of the less offensive episodes of the misery arc, but that hardly gives it a clean pass. I also found Chuck’s epiphany ridiculous, it’s like the fifth time he’s had that particular epiphany in the series. Talk about repetitive! We all got it already!
        A huge part of what I have against the misery arc is what a jerk Chuck is. But just how stupid he seems is hardly far behind. Sarah makes out comparatively better, she’s mostly just stupid. And that’s really not meant as compliment for her character!

      • BillAtWork says:

        Here is the frustration I have with trying to have this debate.

        It’s easy for someone like Joe (no offense, Joe. I’m just using you as an example) who is more sympathetic to the creative team to defend any particular scene.

        It’s easy to look at Sarah in the beginning of Other Guy as the dedicated spy helping her partner execute a difficult mission that is personal for him and call that perfectly within her character. The problem with that is you have to ignore the last scene of the previous episode where Sarah threw her gun on on bed signifying that she was done being a spy and was off to run away with Chuck. Her retirement lasted literally 15 seconds. And they never made any attempt to reconcile those contradictory scenes. Sarah never told Chuck that she was on her way to meet him. And only because they wanted to manipuate some more cheap angst and make the DYLM scene more dramatic.. They just pretended the first scene (after selling us on it) never happened.

        So that’s my heartburn with the misery arc. Yes, you can point to any scene and maybe explain it. But when you compare it to the precedding scene or subsequent scene, it just doesn’t make sense.

        If Chuck is going to decide that he only wants to be friends with Sarah, okay, a writer’s perogitive. But then act like it. Don’t pine for her 10 minutes after you dump her. That’s simply dishonest story telling.

        Monday’s became miserable for me. And if I hadn’t been positive from their leaks that it was soon going to be over, I would have joined the 2 million who stopped watching.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I find it helpful for my own state of mind to be able to break down those individual scenes and be specific about what does and doesn’t work. I feel satisfied with the “logic” of my opinions and am comfortable defining those things I didn’t enjoy.
        But ultimately it’s an issue of taste and style. S3 just was not to my liking. And like you, I stuck it out because of the belief it would get better. (And I’m glad I did, after the misery arc I enjoyed the show as much as ever, in some ways more; it did become the show I had always hoped it would be.) Many viewers feel differently. And those who did enjoy the season are able to beak apart scenes and analyze details to explain their own affection for the very things I dislike most. I think the show was always a little sloppy with details and continuity. Many of us take it far more seriously than it was ever meant to be taken. But in spite of certain sorts of shortcomings that were always there, it managed to be about the most fun I’ve ever had with a television show. Certainly the most fun for the whole run of a show. We only have half (2/3s?) of one season that I find very objectionable. And I compare that to the vast majority of things I watch that may have a mix of good and bad episodes, or even a few shows that I find reliably good (Castle, Person of Interest), but they never left me in eager anticipation of every new episode for the whole run of the series! That’s really an amazing accomplishment, I’m okay with the one down season. Not that I’ll ever like it, but I can live with the one bad arc compared to over 70 awesome shows.

      • BillAtWork says:

        But Dave, you can love something and still be critical of it.

        I love my kids. And I’m incredibly proud of them. But I was always on them to live up to their potential. I was never afraid to let them know when I thought that they weren’t trying hard enough.

        And that’s why I’m so hard on Chris Fedak. Because this show had so much potential. Zac and Yvonne had chemistry that you just couldn’t buy. And the love story of possibly the two most unlikely people imaginable to ever become a couple, so powerful because each brought to the table what the other lacked could have been so much more powerful than it ended up being.

        They could have told the story of this unlikely couple following in his parents footsteps in an ‘us against the world’ way that would have been incredible.

        And they diluted that incredible story because of some wt/wt worship. Soap opera over powerful romantic story.

        And yes, they put them together, actually quickly by TV standards. And I was happy that the pain was over. But they could have done so much more with that story.

      • uplink2 says:

        My issue with Joe’s comment about Chuck being a jerk to Hannah and the whole he is changing thing is that nothing about what Chuck did was because of the changes caused by the spy life. He just acted like millions of other douchebag guys. And he did it in one of the most despicable ways I’ve ever heard of.

        He told Sarah he loved her then a couple of weeks later led an innocent woman on till he gets in her pants. He then pranced around in front of his co-workers like he was in high school and just lost his virginity. Again showing no concern for Sarah’s feelings. Then he sees that another guy was kissing the woman he told he loved a month ago, the same woman he has pined for for now almost 3 years and she might be moving on. Then as Ernie once said he had this “epiphany” at the dinner table with the girl he just had sex with and his sister and brother in law that this isn’t “right where I’m supposed to be”. So he accepts a date with her and her parents for dinner so they can meet the man she is falling for and then pulls her away from them to dump her because he confesses he’s been lying to her. He screwed her, got what he wanted and now is dumping her so he can go after the woman he really loves because he saw her kiss somebody else. Tell me where any of that was because of the spy life and the 2.0? Truth is? It has nothing to do with becoming a spy. That exact story could have been written for the characters on the OC or dozens of other teen angst shows with no connection to the spy world. It’s taking the “kindest man I have ever met” and turning him into a complete prick. And none of that was caused by Chuck being a spy. It’s just a guy lying to a woman, leading her on, getting her into bed and then dumping her the next day. A scenario that has played out trillions of times. But we are still supposed to identify with him because his fifth “epiphany” is coming next week.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I completely agree with all of that. S3 frustrates me endlessly because it could have been something awesome, yet what we got was awful. I always have a special affection for S3 based fan fiction that “fix” or retell that story in a more satisfying or uplifting way.

        It certainly stands out as a great wasted opportunity. But as you say, I’m able to love the rest of the show. It just always makes me a little sad that its in spite of the story. But at least the legacy is good; we ended with Chuck and Sarah together, Morgan and Casey in better places, and a great set-up going forward that was better used in S4 (even if the story telling remained sloppy on occasion, at least it was more fun!)

      • BillAtWork says:

        But why is Phase Three so high on people’s (includding me) favorite episode list? Some people would argue that it was because of the ‘giant blonde shemale’ aspects. But that certainly isn’t true for me. In fact you could cut out the fight scene in the snake pit for all I care. For me, this was the highlight of the series.

        “I’m different without Chuck, And I don’t like it.”

        That was it. Sarah for the first time ever expressed what had been building for 3 1/2 seasons. She was no longer Agent Walker. She was now half of Chuck and Sarah. She not only loved him, she didn’t like herself without him.

        It was expressed with no ambiguity, no hesitiation. She didn’t hedge, afraid of moving in with him, telling him that she loved him. She wasn’t afraid of marriage or family. It was just a girl in love with a guy who was in trouble… and would do anything to save him.

        I agree that S4 was more fun. Maybe a better way to say it is less angst. But they did better when they were bold. So tell the story of two people who love each other fiercely, yet face huge obsticles and long odds that they have to overcome. Tell the story of a couple who is much more than the sum of the parts. Of overcomming things that would have surely defeated them seperately.

        And that had to start in S3 instead of the soap opera. They sacrificed that potential for wt/wt… and it cost them a large portion of their audience.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I would not use such vulgar language, but I agree 100% with the sentiment.

      • joe says:

        This continues to be an amazing discussion, everyone.

        Uplink, I actually agree with just about everything you said above. Everything that happens between C&S is not at all about (or connected to) the spy story. You said: That exact story could have been written for the characters on the OC or dozens of other teen angst shows with no connection to the spy world. – and that’s absolutely true. By design, I think.

        This show is not Bones, with the murder of the week solved by Brennen’s forensic detective genius and Booth’s FBI heroics; it’s not Castle doing an Agatha Christie story come to life, with romance as a major side story. Chuck was always about the romance first, spy-stuff second, glued together by humor and incredible music. (Well, that last thing is just me! 😉 )

        So yeah, it’s much more The OC than it is NCIS.

        It’s only personal tastes that dictates our reaction, and mine is pretty clear, at least, it is to me. I finally watched this weeks episode of Bones. I think it’ll be the last one I see, too, because they started preaching politics at me. That had nothing to do with nuthin’, and the payoff was not worth my time. For my money, that’s a show that’s lost it’s way.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I agree completely that Phase Three was a powerful episode, and that line was awesome. Although I did love the pit fight too, but that episode was just right on every level. The Sarah/Morgan scene at home, “anyone else want to be my boyfriend?”, and the whole dual scene at the moment of rescue. Just a wonderful episode where they got everything right.

      • joe says:


        But why is Phase Three so high on people’s (includding me) favorite episode list?

        Yeah. That’s a great question, Bill.

        You’re right about the answer, too. It’s a fan favorite because, although Sarah reverts to being the stone-cold assassin/wild-card enforcer that she once was (not a laudable character), it’s obvious she becomes that for Chuck’s sake, not for the g’ment’s.

        What’s more surprising to me is that we don’t generally mind the redundancy here. She’s done that kind of thing before, although to a lesser extent, more than a few times. She accepts returning to her old role when she and Chuck break up at the fountain. She accepts being that spy when she returns the rings at the end of Suburbs. She forces herself into being that spy at the beginning of Beefcake and again at the end of Lethal Weapon.

        In Phase Three it’s nice to see her clawing her way out of being “only a spy”, and not meekly accepting that role.

      • BillAtWork says:


        I get what you’re saying about redundancy. Her interrogation of the diplomat (welcome to American soil, lol) was similar to shooting Mauser in Santa, and for basically the same reasons. And I really enjoyed it. But there is something even more powerful.

        This is the first time we ever heard Sarah verify out loud how we were hoping she felt. It was more fundamental than an ILY. It was an admission that all of her past, all of her baggage no longer mattered. She didn’t only love him, she didn’t like herself without him. It doesn’t get better than that.

        And I give Chris Fedak a fair amount of crap. I probably will again. But you have to give him credit. The dual scene where Sarah is pleading for Chuck to come back to her juxtaposed with vision Sarah convincing him that she was now at peace with being half of Chuck and Sarah (there were race cars involved, lol) was pure genius. It was just another example of when this show was right, it was like nothing else on TV. I’d gladly pay $100 to see a movie with that power.

      • atcDave says:

        And Joe I think “only a spy” is another of those key phrases/moments in understanding the whole series. It tells us profound things about how Sarah sees herself without Chuck. And I think, it’s huge in understanding the series’ end too. Sarah turned down the government job to find herself, Phase Three told us plainly that without the government that meant Chuck. It may be a bit of a reach, but I love how those lines and moments connect.

      • joe says:

        Well put, Bill. Every so often, Fedak puts in one of those scenes that just amaze me, and that dual scene in Phase Three is one of the best evah! Another one of my favorites is Casey and Sarah silently running in slo-mo up the Castle staircase to save Chuck from Jill (while Keep Yourself Warm plays in the foreground).

        Dave, I’m amazed at how early the “only a spy” idea comes up for Sarah – I hadn’t notice until this re-watch. It really was far more central to her character than I realized.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Without you I’m nobody. I’m nothing but a spy.

        It was Sarah at her very, very best. Bad-ass, but more. Now human and capable of admitting that she liked it.

      • uplink2 says:

        Sorry Dave but for me the less vulgar words simply aren’t strong enough. He isn’t a jerk he’s a p…. Sometimes the vulgar has it’s place and this Chuck in season 3 deserves the vulgar description. But I understand your reticence in using it.

        @Joe but that isn’t what I bought into. I watch nothing on the CW and never will. I liked the OC in the beginning but as it went along I was glad Marissa got killed off. That kind of teen angst gets old really really fast. But Chuck wasn’t the same target audience and either they didn’t see that or their hubris was so strong they didn’t care.

        It all comes back to the big question. Did any of the relationship geometry make them better suited to be together because of it? My answer is absolutely not. Did the Chuck and Sarah relationship grow during that season so that they deserved DYLM? Again no it didn’t. If anything it regressed and so did the opinion many fans had for these characters. As we have been stating there is no consistency in either of them. Sarah does a 180 in Mask, Chuck pushes Sarah away and then a few minutes later is pining for her again. Chuck tells Sarah he wants to be a spy, and be with her and then 10 minutes later tells her he wants to be with her away from the spy life. He tells her in Prague that he won’t run and then in AH he tells her he should have run. It’s just dishonest storytelling and manipulation and neither character is more likable or deserving because of it.

      • uplink2 says:

        Besides the great dialog in Phase 3 it is Yvonne that knocks it out of the park. The toe to toe faceoff with Casey is some of her best work. You knew she would do whatever it took to defeat Casey if he tried to stop her. Same thing in the bar.

        It wasn’t the action that started us on #Emmy4Yvonne, it was her dramatic and emotional performance. And it is why it ranks as my second favorite episode ever.

    • resaw says:

      Oops, left out a word: “Now having said that, I am suggesting that something like “Huck” had to happen, but that, since it happened,” should have been: Now having said that, I am *not* suggesting that something like “Huck” had to happen, but that, since it happened,

      • anthropocene says:

        Was it “Huck” or “Hack?” ‘Cause I’d say the misery arc of S3 was nothing more than a Sham and a Hack.

      • atcDave says:

        I like Sham and Hack, it nicely sums up what I think of it too.

      • resaw says:

        Never was very good at this “combining two names into one” thing. Is there a name for this “process” by the way? …. 🙂

      • lappers84 says:

        Didn’t Yvonne decide on her name for that episode?? I wonder if she thought fans would call them that lol

        Just seems like such a coincidence – though Chuck and Hannah as Hack is just as amusing.

      • anthropocene says:

        Resaw, your question got me curious. Turns out there is such a term: “name-meshing,” which is a more specific form of “portmanteau.” 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Well I’m kind of disappointed the terms are so prosaic; or well, French. Maybe we should name mesh the term?! Namshing! That has a more cool and international sound to it, right?

  11. ThreeCentsWorth says:

    You’ll forgive me for saying this because I really don’t mean any offense, but this is why “rewatches’ and discussions of them really do not work. People watch episodes they love or loathe with their minds made up and the rewatch just reinforces their opinions and then they fall into the same arguments. There just isn’t much illumination in that.

    That said, I really do think part of the problem with “the long wait” is that the showrunners were not leveling with fans during that period. And part of the problem with Season 3 is that showrunners didn’t level with fans about the objectives they were going for and problems they encountered. And what’s saddest of all is that it is now more than a year since the show ended and the showrunners still haven’t given us the backstory. Maybe they haven’t been asked, but they certainly haven’t volunteered. And that’s too bad.

    Two tidbits from this discussion I did notice, though. Mr atcDave, you said here that inserting Bryce for Shaw (which I honestly believe was the original plan) might have made you feel less negative to Season 3. I think maybe that’s the first time you said something that “generous” to S3. And Mr. Uplink2, you trotted out Ms. lizjames’ comments about the Hannah character. I think that’s a mistake. From what I’ve read of her stuff here and her own (lamented, lost) blog, I think Ms. lizjames understood the first two seasons of the show better than anyone who wasn’t on the staff. And, by her own admission (see, she NEVER understood the showrunners’ intentions for Season 3. So using her analysis of Hannah is probably an error.

    Finally, one more shot at trying to reshape the discussion: I’ve long thought that Chris Fedak’s approach to storytelling is always about choices. Watch his episodes closely. There’s ALWAYS some sort of existential choice being made by one of the characters. So is it possible that we can look at the 91 episodes of Chuck this way: In Season 1/2, Fedak posits a Chuck character who chooses loves (i.e. Sarah) and being a “normal guy” above being a spy. In the original Season 3 (starting with Ring), Fedak posits a Chuck character who chooses being a spy above love and being a normal guy. And in Season 3.5 (starting with Honeymooners) and beyond, Fedak posits a Chuck character who essentially chose to run with Sarah in Prague only to realize that the only choice he CAN make is to be a spy with the person he loves while trying to remain a normal guy, too. To me, that seems like an overarching framework that could pull the otherwise dissonant components of the show into something rational.

    • Wilf says:

      TCW, your re-shape is a brilliant rationalisation of what we saw and why. Summed up in one paragraph. Fantastic. Thank you.

    • Robert says:

      Very well explained! I agree with everything you wrote.

      I might even add that both Chuck and Sarah made a last choice during the last part of season 5; they chose a normal life with the person they love, out of the spy game. Chuck’s original choice, full circle.

    • atcDave says:

      You do have to realize the whole point of a re-watch is really just to have an excuse to re-watch the show again, right? It’s hardly surprising that most of our impressions will be similar to what they’ve been (especially since many of us have seen episodes 20+ times already anyhow). But even so, if you’d been reading along from the start, you’d realize a number of impressions have been changed. Some episodes measured up better, some weaker, in the greater context. But I don’t think anyone has expected great revelations or sweeping revisions in our assessment of anything.
      But all that said, I was saying as far back as the original airing of S3 that it might have been less overtly offensive to me with Bryce in Shaw’s place. I could accept Sarah turning to Bryce for a friendly ear when she was having issues with Chuck in a way I was never able to accept Shaw. I don’t think it would have made me like those episodes a whole lot more, but I would have thought FAR more highly of Sarah (because Shaw was such a completely unappealing and unsympathetic character). But I really appreciated the way NV broke it out in a fair amount of detail, I was pleased at how well it seemed to work even with fairly minor changes to the story.

      And just a heads up to everyone. TCW IS Liz James. She is an often thoughtful writer and was long a valued contributor to this site. But she has always had the nasty of habit of supporting her positions through a dozen or so fake identities, sock puppets who sing her own praises. It was actually amusing when at one point we had a dozen commenters all coming from the same IP address. But we want everyone to be clearly aware of the situation. TCW is a talented and thoughtful writer who often understands and supports Liz James, because she is Liz James.
      But on to the point. I do agree Liz with your breakdown of themes for the show. Ernie has long made similar arguments as he talks about Chuck’s growing and changing along his Hero’s Journey. But of course those points are somewhat secondary to the issue of what we find entertaining. I’m sure we could find such meta themes in a broad range of stories I both love and loath, it doesn’t actually affect my impressions of an episode or arc in any meaningful way.

      Oh and for the record Wilf and Robert, I wasn’t accusing either of you of being a sock puppet. Liz IS very clever and you are certainly welcome to acknowledge that.

      • Robert says:

        I got that, Dave.

        I was agreeing with the breakdown of themes she explained, that’s all.

      • Wilf says:

        No offence taken, Dave. I’m not even the same gender as Liz (:

      • Bill says:

        To the point about our expectations for this re-watch, I can honestly say this:

        I am hoping that my perspective about the show — which is that it died for all intents and purposes when Shaw came back to life at the end of Living Dead — will be changed in some positive way as we move through Seasons 3 and 3.5, and that I’ll find something that resonates with me in Seasons 4 and 5, which I’ve only watched once (so far).

    • uplink2 says:

      Well this was an interesting revelation. Liz I don’t think it was in error because I happen to agree with it and I reposted it based on the fact I STILL agree with it. Joe proposed an explanation of why it works for her to be an innocent in that instance and maybe it does. But if you look at the larger picture as BAW proposed, very little if anything actually makes sense to the big picture. They are hugely bipolar characters and writers. They use things just for the moment whether they make sense overall or not. The things Joe proposes simply aren’t goo enough as motivation. I still contend Hannah had only three purposes, eye candy, stunt casting, and to justify the phoney angst of Sarah/Shaw. There is not one single element of character growth in Chuck or one lesson learned he didn’t already know from that relationship. Chuck and Sarah are not better suited for DYLM now because of Lou 2.0. She was a pointless plot device to drag out the WTWT.

      I’ve read a lot of your stuff and don’t agree with it all but I do enjoy reading your theories and in this case I completely agree with you.

  12. Faith says:

    “Sir Robin’s minstrels were eaten”

    ? I think I have a hole in my education.

    To me the best thing about season 3.0 (among many other things, the fandom, the ups and downs, etc.) was the promos. We dissected the heck out of those things and they brought their own level of fun. I think the promos, and the music are two things I miss most about the show today.

    P.S. As I type this, I’m seeing at the bottom of the page: “13 months, 3 weeks, 2 days (and about 8 hours and 46 minutes)” since Chuck’s finale. ❤ Miss the show.

    • BillAtWork says:

      Yeah, Faith,

      We looked at them frame by frame looking for clues, lol. We knew that Sarah kisses Chuck in the the DYLM scene because she was wearing the same shirt in the promo.

      And it wasn’t just the promos. Somebody tweeted a picture of them blocking a scene. There were two figures in black. We convinced ourselves that it was Shaw and Hannah and that was proof that they had some conspiricy going. Turned out it was a couple of stunt doubles, lol.

      The poor NBC publicity department. How many things did they spoil?

      • Faith says:

        So much! Oh man, remember the Canadian promos?! They were the best and the worst at the same time. We mined the heck out of those shots lol.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I do. Remember when Zac did a webcast from the train set in Honeymooners? We were convinced that C/S got married because Yvonne had on a wedding ring?


      • atcDave says:

        We were all sure, Ernie was positive. I still think it would have been awesome, but I can’t really complain about what we got.

    • atcDave says:

      I miss it a lot too Faith!

      You mean you’re not familiar with Monty Python and the Holy Grail!? I thought it was a pre-requisite for Chuck fans.
      Sir Robin’s minstrels were almost a medieval Jeffster. And when everyone was starving, the eating of Sir Robin’s minstrels was cause for celebration (it was covered in voice over, nothing revolting shown!)

      • atcDave says:

        Oh and I do agree it was all so much fun; pouring over interviews and previews, trying to figure what was going on. Even when we were all in a panic or complaining about something is it was so much fun being so wrapped up in it, I miss that.

    • uplink2 says:

      Faith ‘ve been reading some of your postings from way back then. Damn girl! You were right there on the front lines lol.

  13. Jason says:

    As a big time shipper, when I started reading this trip down memory lane, I recalled how much I appreciated this place during S3, and how many nice people here comforted shippers, versus most the other places on the web.

    I’ve done my best to forget about what I didn’t like about S3. I’d like to think with distance away, I’ve gained some perspective. Here’s what I think about S3 (and the show in general) now:

    The oft quoted ‘One step forward, two steps back’ was a great description of how Chuck and Sarah were written ALL five seasons. Sarah’s amnesia in S5 served as a final reminder to the shows back and forth, pulling the story backward to set the stage for the last epic scene on the beach. A few more examples of back and forth, off the top of my head, the final arc of S4 nearly killed Sarah, before the highly anticipated wedding. Toward the end of mid S4, Sarah left Chuck for long term undercover work, before the sweet engagement scene paid off the angst as the credits rolled. The first (maybe the best?) kiss in the show was brought down by Bryce’s return from the dead. Casey interrupted Barstow, a few days later Sarah told Chuck she was leaving, with Bryce. My opinion is the back and forth was the way the show worked both before S3 and after S3.

    The more the show took from Chuck and Sarah, the more that was given back, or visa versa, the more sweet and happy moments Chuck and Sarah shared, the more that was taken from them … all five seasons, to some degree or another, to varying degrees of success.

    In hindsight, was there any doubt after the Colonel / Ring unprecedented happiness, that something equally bad or worse was going to happen in S3, especially given where things were headed in a forward fashion, with the end game in Paris?

    The execution of the LI story in S3 may have fallen short. So what? Most shows, sooner or later, have such an arc. Much as I’d like to know if juicy details exist to explain why, if anyone knows, they aren’t saying. That’s probably a good thing! No reason to reconnect those now atrophying S3 frustration brain neurons in my head. Any good intersect scientist knows that!

    To those who S3 still hurts, I hope you can eventually accept S3 as it was written, with Shaw, Hannah, Fake Names, Masks, Beards, and the rest pulling off the ‘really bad’ pretty darned well, sandwiched in between some of the best moments in the show (last two eps of S2 and Other Guy / Honeymooners). I’m pretty certain the best way to help yourselves now is to let go of the displeasure.

    Finally, my hat’s off to those who loved the show unconditionally, warts and all, when season 3 aired and still do. After all, Chuck loved Sarah that way, even though she was a homicidal maniac?

    • Faith says:

      ^I agree.

    • atcDave says:

      Well Jason I don’t really agree with much of that. Although there’s clearly a sense in which we all moved on, and the show did finally deliver, at least it delivered what I was waiting for. But I still object to the very fact that “every show does it”. It is a common and tired feature of television romance, and I’m still waiting for the show runner who will have the nerve to write something mature and believable. I do agree Chuck did no worse than many other shows, but THAT is the exact thing I object to. I want better.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I’m with Dave. The soap opera one step forward and two steps back dance is what we didn’t want. We wanted a story that moved forward, with ups and downs maybe, but not with every high to be met with the obligatory reset. And it’s not a shipper thing. If the honest story called for Sarah and Chuck to not end up together, I might have been able to still enjoy that, as long as I bought the reasons. It’s the artifical two steps back designed to keep the story stuck in nutual which never felt honest that bothered me.

      • atcDave says:

        Sorry, I was rushing earlier.

        It was funny about this site and ‘shippers. I apparently always was one, and the rest of crew was often sympathetic to some degree or another, so we seemed to inherit several other sites’ ‘shippers.

        But Jason a big part of what I was objecting to was the idea it was always “one step forward two steps back” was show SOP. That is actually heading backwards, and I only think parts of the misery arc qualify. In spite of the recurring use of certain dramatic devices, I think we actually saw good FORWARD character growth in S4 and S5.
        And while I do congratulate you for finding more peace with S3, and really I have too in a way, but that doesn’t actually make the product better. At this point, my biggest concern is that someone actually writes more stories I want see. And the current state of television causes me a lot of concern on that subject.

    • uplink2 says:

      Here’s the difference Jason. Those moments you talk about lasted at most 3 episodes and most of those were actually 2 or even 1. The season 3 misery dance lasted 12.5 episodes and that is simply too much negativity to sit through for basically less than 5 minutes of payoff. The same is true of the finale, too much angst for too little payoff. So yes it is their style. But I can accept the finale and have gotten better with it, my initial reaction was to trust the love and I believe that was the right decision. But the lesson of season 3 was to never “trust the show” again. 12.5 episodes of misery for 3 brief payoff scenes just isn’t a story choice I would ever make. Thank heaven for the idiots at NBC and the Jay Leno experiment. Without that we would have ended with a very depressing arc and season for a couple of unearned payoffs. But their mistake allowed us to get Honeymooners and everything that follows. But it still doesn’t make up for the journey they took us on for what they thought was the final season.

  14. I love reading this blog and everyones thoughts on the episodes and the series as a whole and while it is true that I do not like these episodes in early season 3 can undrestand in some ways as Fedak and co said when we get to other guy it did feel very sattisfying and then Honeymonners was basically my favourite 43 mins of tv at the time and i really cant decide between that and phase 3 overall.
    I think that the problelms that I and almost everyone I remember on the NBC boards at the time was that you fans ( I am not including me as I am IN the UK so nothing i was going to do in turns of word of mouth, Subway or anything would affect NBCs decision to renew) . You had al boughtg subways etc and leant DVDs etc to get new people to watch with probably the promise of a great, fun, spy, nerdy love story and the incredible chemistry between all the cast but especially Zac and Yvonne. You did your it as pink slip and three words had nearly 8 million viewers that is about 2 million more than Vs Ring. That is partly due to the Sunday slot but how many new viewers thought this is not what I was told? How many existing fans would think the same.
    I think part is Schwedaks confidence that we would buy whatever they are selling and if it had been done better we probably could of. I remeber thinking about these leaks ect about Love interests etc that they would either not be there long as TPTB would not be stupid enough to do that. How wrong I was! If they had kept the idea of Chuck not going with her in Prague but telling her why properly, ie he becomes a spy she helps him become one and also prevents him from losing himself. Even if they wanted to have the angst angle they could have done something like Bekman finds out the plan, she confronts Chuck and threatens Sarahs life, it would refelct the NSAs desire to have anintersect, keep Chuck as Selfless saving Sarahs Life particularly if he knows that as a result she will never trust him again as he hurt her so much. Intsead of that we got the one thing that we never thought possible, Chuck hurting someone he loves, even worse, with no regrets unlike when to save Morgans life he had to betray him.

    • atcDave says:

      Sounds like we’re on the same page for all of that Stephen. I even agree on two of the best episodes, although I always add Baby to the list.

      I think being in the UK you may have more influence than you give yourself credit for. First of all, buying DVDs and other Chuck merchandise increases the profits for Warner Brothers, which means they can charge less for the show. Making Chuck cheaper makes NBC happy. Even more important, if the story is to be believed, Subway’s enthusiasm for Chuck played a role in getting S3. So even from the UK, if it gets back to Subway corporate that folks are buying sandwiches for something called “Chuck”, it helps the effort.
      Remember too, ratings in the US come from Nielsen Ratings. That’s a fairly small number of viewers who have a special box that tracks their viewing habits. Since most of us don’t have such a box, buying discs and subs is the only direct influence most of us have. I understand you probably feel more remote from the show being an ocean away, but don’t ever think you don’t matter, we all mattered.

      • Oh I do not wish to imply that I could not do anything as I certainly did buy the dvds and although as far as I know subways here do not have the comment cards that I believe yours do the fact that Zac took a convention crowd to one in birmingham might have registered somewhere.
        That is the one thing I treasure most about Chuck is that tv is such a solitary medium but with the nbc boards at the time, twitter, fan sites and podcasts, I connected with people half a world away as we shared something in common, our love for a smart, fun, romantic tv show. Certainly when I was so frustrated in these early S3 episodes it did help that I was not alone. I have loved other programs before, Buffy, Angel, Firefly (although not when it came out must have been about a year after being cancelled) and Dr Who none have ever come close to making me feel what Chuck did and still does.
        Probably the closest show that I have to Chuck now is Castle but I can only remember rewatching 5 or so episodes and most of those had been to do with Kates mother but this season the only ones have been when Alexis was kidnapped, and Ryans undercover irish mob episode. I certainly would not care if rick and Kate split up, I thought that Kates surprise for him in the ‘rear windows episode might cause that, but obviously not. Chuck on the other hand I would watch twice or three times the day I downloaded it (tuesday) and would be in the 5-7 times by the end of the week.
        In possible defence of schwedak I wonder if turning it so dark was a decision they took to try and make it more ‘real’ and to get a bigger audience so they would not be on the bubble again.

      • atcDave says:

        Our Chuck addiction is similar. I would even agree about Castle being the closest replacement. Although I do still care about Castle and Beckett, it’s with no where near the passion I felt about Chuck and Sarah. Really an amazing thing to me.

        I also agree about the likely motives for taking S3 darker. Most of the highly regarded cable series are very dark, and so is a lot of broadcast television. So I think they tried to make Chuck more like everything else. I think that didn’t work well for a few reasons; but the biggest is that so many of the existing fans didn’t want that for this show. Changing the mood of a show is a very big deal to viewers, especially viewers who had just fought to save the show.

  15. I agree the fact of the matter is that for whatever reason TPTB decided to take the show in that direction was just a mistake. My regrety is always that although we did get 43 more episodes of the lighter Chuck show that we love, if they had made a different decision there is a possibility that we could now be discussing the end of season 6.

  16. Pingback: Chuck in Overview: Season Three | Chuck This

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