Chuck vs The Role Models (3.15)

This may be the least consequential episode of the season; Role Models seems more about having fun with the new format than anything of actual importance.  Not to say nothing happens, but this may be more about laughing, and being happy with our characters than anything else.

Celebrating the reinvention

After the jump, we’ll see what’s so funny, and if there is any significance in this week’s episode.

I think of Role Models as a completely average episode.  In a season of extremes, that may make it uniquely average (!). There are plenty of fun moments.  I completely enjoy this episode every time I watch it.  In fact, I feel obligated to use the common Chuck truism; an average episode of Chuck is still better than almost anything else on television.

There is just so much here to laugh at.  the highlight moments for me being Morgan’s Hart to Hart dream sequence, The Turners outrageous distraction at Otto’s party (which later seems to have been at least partly on purpose), Chuck and Sarah’s encounter with the tiger, ambushing the Turners in their hotel room, the return of the tiger, and Morgan discovering his special strengths as the stupidest agent Casey has ever worked with.  That’s actually quite a lot to laugh at.  It also shows how important one particular furry guest star was to this particular episode.  And I’m pretty sure running from said kitty is the only time we ever heard Sarah Walker scream, in a surprisingly girly sort of way.  So Chuck’s not the only one who can do that.

The greatest villain of Season Three!

A few thoughts about the various story elements.  Sarah balking at moving in together seems sort of silly after trying to run away together the week before.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m an old fashioned sort of guy, I thought they should have really eloped while they were in Paris.  But Sarah’s waffling now seemed like a pretty obvious sort of story contrivance.  But it was played for fun from “are you going to ask me to move in again?” to guns in the apartment (did Chuck really think he could ask Sarah to move in and then say “no guns”?!).  And the ending was one of those trademarked sweet Charah moments.  Even though this particular issue seemed forced to me, I do appreciate that we will see pretty steady growth for Sarah, from here to the end of the series.

Forcing Chuck and Sarah to play observers to the Turners was sort of a weak plot device.  Not a huge problem mind you; but it did seem beneath them, especially beneath Sarah.  Very funny though how everyone kept up the “30 years ago” bit when they obviously meant 45…

It seemed to me Morgan was being tested more than trained.  I guess that’s fine, testing can be used to establish a base-line before starting training.  And there sure were some funny moments in Morgan’s “training”.  Especially when Big Mike woke up.

The Ellie/Devon story-line felt like wasted screen time (except for “Doctor Super Amazing White Person”; that line was almost funny enough to carry the whole story). BUT, and this is very important to me, I really like where this is heading.  I think Chuck’s lying to Ellie has been pointless for a long time, at least since Devon found out.  And Chuck’s lying in general is getting really, really old for me.  So I like how this will play out; Chuck will pay a price for lying to his sister when she falls for a simple deception that never would have worked if she’d been read in.  I think this is a very skillful implementation of a B plot tying into the A plot; and it will pay off brilliantly in Living Dead and Subway.

So on balance, I think it is fair to call Role Models an average episode.  But on a show like Chuck, average is a very good thing.  Even if nothing “epic” or important happens, its nice to have a week to rest and enjoy the new normal.

~ Dave 
ct_bar

Groping In The Dark

Laura Turner does the double-cross

Laura Turner does the double-cross

I remember coming out of Chuck vs. The Role Models thinking that I had seen an average episode too, Dave.

Craig Turner knows the game

Craig Turner knows the game

The only surprise seemed to be in how much I had anticipated correctly – the accomplished, suave Turners (Fred Willard and Swoosie Kurtz as Craig and Laura) tasked to show the newbies how to make it as a spy couple, the rough transition Chuck and Sarah would have to their new lives, the triumphant passing of the proverbial torch as the younger couple proved themselves. No surprises; standard TV fare punctuated by a jazzy theme that I was just old enough to appreciate.

Oh man, are the Turners sophisticated. Mel Torme was “Mr. Cool” back in their day, second only to the leader of the Rat Pack himself, Frank Sinatra, in what we now call street cred. His music set the tone, and it was precisely what I wanted to hear at that moment. I think I needed some “cool” after the tensions we all felt as S3 progressed.

Chuck was well on his way to being that kind of cool. Then the record playing in my mind screeched as Sarah said Why would we do that? to Chuck’s invitation. Sarah doesn’t want to move in? Ouch! Cool gone. I saw metaphorical elbows flying, if gently, as they argued over such things as the “30 foot rule” and who’s giving in to whom.

It was disconcerting. I really don’t like bickering, especially bickering involving my favorite TV couple. Whatever feelings I had going into this episode, they began to change into a gnawing fear that we were once again going to see Chuck and Sarah separated for a time, fighting over dumb domestic issues much like a hundred other sit-coms about domestic life that came before. Despite the nice Hart to Hart homage, I didn’t want this!

Chuck and Sarah learn to play a new game.

Chuck and Sarah learn to play a new game.

No, Chuck has always been at least a smidgen better than that. Sarah’s right to be cautious about moving in – that’s what normal couples do and despite Chuck’s fondest wishes, they are not a normal couple. At the same time, Chuck is right about not having a cache of weapons stored in the sofa. After all, what if Morgan found them?! (Heh. You must always consider the children first when firearms are nearby.)

The first time I saw the episode, I started to fear that we were going to see Chuck and Sarah squabbling, negotiating and compromising their new arrangements for the entire episode and beyond. I was relieved when, despite their differing opinions, they got through the first arguments as an intact couple. Then the second. In fact, when the Turners seemed to be dysfunctional (she a lush and he a philanderer), Chuck and Sarah took it as an opportunity to prove they are the stronger couple. They successfully completed the Turners’ mission in style, retrieving encryption-cracking software from a cat’s collar.

Hello, Kitty!

Hello, Kitty!

It’s significant that the “cat” is a female Bengal Tiger and the Turners are master double-crossers. Yeesch! Nothing is going to be easy here. Chuck and Sarah must prove themselves, not only as spies, but as a couple, to get past these obstacles. Of course, they do so. Chuck and Sarah resolved yet more differences and found compromise where compromise was difficult and I got happier, that first time. I finished Chuck vs. The Role Models glad that I had seen an episode that worked its way back to being fun and inoffensive, rather than one that left us on a precipice of worry. We had had enough of that this season. The lighthearted comedy of Morgan and Casey (best-buds in training) add to the good-times! feeling that made me say “Okay. This’ll do in a pinch.”

[Don’t leave us there, Buckley. Hit ’em with a zinger of a twist that’ll prove this is the best episode you’ve ever seen!]

No, I’m going to say something else instead. This time around, on re-watch, I actually got wistful at the end. Surprisingly, I was quiet and contemplative, almost – but not quite – crying with a subdued joy, feeling like I had just had a reconciliation with a loved one. How odd.

It’s not necessary to study the lyrics too much. It’s about the sound. Yes, it’s difficult for Chuck and Sarah as they start their new life together. Should we have expected anything less? Thinking personally, I’ve never had a perfectly painless life transition like moving in with somebody. Even without the tigers, spies named Otto and friends like Jeff and Lester, starting a life with Mrs. Joe came with it’s own adjustment period.

Compromise, but not your principles.

Compromise, but not your principles.

I’m sure those of you who are married went through something like that, learning to reconcile and accept, compromise without compromising your principles. And even those of you who are not married understand what I mean if you consider your first day of college, or high school – or the first day after school ended and real life began. And of course, there’s that first new job.

And my mind was on the ledge.
sayin’ “Who’s gonna help you now?”

Transitions are hard. Sans Soleil translates “without sun,” and that’s appropriate when we have to make our way in the dark, seemingly without much help. Everyone winds up groping around for a bit and that’s never comfortable. Yet, the gentle sounds from that song tell us that it’s going to be all right.

Without sun we pull what feeds us from the heat that’s in-between us

This time around, I realized I had been afraid that everything we saw and believed was a chimera and that the promises we thought we heard in The Honeymooners were feints – head fakes. I had been so conditioned to Chuck and Sarah being held apart by forces outside of their control and by their own mistakes I half expected them to be apart forever.

Dealing with the stress

Dealing with the stress

Or, at least I half-expected them to fall apart at the first signs of a problem. I was wrong. Sarah accepts Chuck’s invitation, taking the dive into new waters where before she had stuck in a toe. Still afraid, yes, but it really is all different now.

It’s all the opposite I think
The ladder runs side to side
Enough to make you want a drink
But there’s no place to hide

Chuck vs. The Role Models is not romp through Paris, a thrilling, romantic adventure, a comedic tour de force or a cliff hanger that leaves us wanting more – things that we had seen done so well in this show. This is about Sarah’s fears and Chuck’s insecurities about the changes and new beginnings in their lives. It is a surprisingly poignant slice of life that most of us understand, I think.

“Poignant?” After all the pain our favorite characters went through in S3 the fans were more than a little upset and angry. Chuck&Sarah (with no space between them) are fine, but there’s no getting around it. A wall of distrust had been raised between the fans and TPTB. We dreaded the idea that Chuck&Sarah might come apart again. At least, I did. They made it hard.

But yes, poignant. Chuck&Sarah are growing quickly and are stronger as a couple than I dared to believe at first. I like that. If the episode is average for this show (and I too think it is), then that’s only because Chuck is so effective at getting to me personally that every episode seems “above average”. It quietly and gently raises that particular bar.

Like I said, I did feel something odd this time around. It was something that left me a little drained, subdued and relieved, just like those early days when my wife and I were struggling, fighting and learning to accommodate and understand each other better. What happens, of course, isn’t that a couple becomes resigned to each other. Instead, they become resigned to the idea that life is going to be different.

It was hard, but we had survived as a couple and that was the most important thing. I saw in this episode the same kind of quiet reconciliation; It’s that little personal truth that makes this show great. But much to my surprise, this time the reconciliation was not just between Chuck&Sarah.

Reconciled. Happy.

Reconciled. Happy.

It was between my concept of their new life and the one being shown to me on the screen. And as hokey as it sounds, it was between me, the fans and TPTB. Like Chuck&Sarah, I had to recognize that things were going to be different. We would struggle and learn to accommodate and understand, and like the couple, we would be fine.

– joe

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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130 Responses to Chuck vs The Role Models (3.15)

  1. mr2686 says:

    There’s really nothing to dislike about this episode, but i agree that it’s just average when taken by itself, but really looks below average when considering it followed Honeymooners. Still, as was said, an average Chuck is better than anything else on TV, even today.
    By far the best part of this episode? Morgan’s Hart to Hart dream sequence. A total hoot!!

    • atcDave says:

      That’s really am excellent point MR, following Honeymooners would make almost any episode look average!

    • joe says:

      Awwww – I have to disagree just a little that the Hart to Hart homage was the best part, MR. Maybe, it’s the 2nd best part.

      What I liked best was how C&S did the quick turn-around near the end, with Chuck frantically asking were the guns were/Sarah saying she was surprised that she actually listened to him (and removed the guns), to them facing down the Turners at mutual gunpoint. It sold me on the idea that despite differences, C&S were going to always find a way to work together. I liked that a lot.

      • atcDave says:

        And that was a really funny scene too! I think the show is so much richer when Chuck and Sarah are interacting like that, even if some of it is bickering!

      • joe says:

        You know, Dave, I never completely bought the idea that C&S were never on screen together enough in S3. I think, the way my mind works, if they’re thinking about each other, they’re together. And they thought about each other a lot, even through the worst of it.

        But you just convinced me with that. Even when bickering, it’s their interaction that makes the whole thing come alive. It’s First Fight writ small. C&S are fighting against armed opponents, yet totally focused on each other and on the question of how to resolve their differences. It’s sort of cool.

      • mr2686 says:

        That was a great scene, no doubt about it. Also, pretty true to life when you’re married (minus the guns) and you listen to your spouse, only to have your opinion be the right one. Then it comes down to “I told you so/why did you listen to me now?” 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Obviously I never wanted the show to be Moonlighting, but the occasional bicker fight can be so funny. And true to life.

      • Dave says:

        Chuck: Honey, Darling…what did you do with our small cache of weapons?

        Sarah: I got rid of them…Sweetheart!

        Chuck: You actually listened to me?

        Sarah: I can’t quite believe it myself.

        Chuck: What happened to the gun you had at the hotel?

        Sarah: I Left Them In The Car!

        Chuck: Why would you do that?

        Sarah: Because…You…Told…Me…To!

        Turner: Rookies!

  2. bigspud says:

    I agree this was an average episode, but for me even years later its still better then anything that was on T.V today. loved everything Morgan in this episode, from his Hart to Hart daydream to his here kitty kitty was all Morgan at his funniest, plus Sarah’s scream was priceless lol. middle of the pack episode for me but still great chuck fun.

    • joe says:

      Good point on Morgan, Bigspud. I shouldn’t have downplayed the idea that Morgan is a changed character too. He’s still got enough of the side-kick from three years earlier to make us laugh, but that guy wouldn’t face down a 14 year old girl, much less a Bengal Tiger.

      The best part is, it’s believable for the character.

      Which puts me in contradiction to Jason below! (and sorry ’bout that).

      • Jason says:

        Joe – I’m OK with what you’re saying. I liked Casey and Morgan too. Plus, from this point on, let’s ‘steeled’ by the frigerator Vitamin D’s encounter, Morgan pretty much became the closest thing Sarah had to a girl friend in the show too. Morgan and Sarah were great together. Plus, Chuck and Morgan were BBF’s.

        That’s sort of the problem, the flip side of Shaw’s misery, when shaw had to be every role on the show, now Morgan was.

        far better to have less Morgan Casey time, with a more serious Casey still being somewhat a threat to the team, less sArah Morgan time with Ellie becoming SArah’s BBF, then Alex, and less Chuck and Morgan time where Morgan solves all of Chuck’s problems, with Chuck having more serious discussions with Sarah and Chuck continuing to be the grown up, smartest guy in the room and Morgan being a well intentioned, but bumbling sidekick.

        The key to Chuck was balance, and Morgan tipped the scales a bit too far into goofy

      • joe says:

        I sorta see what you mean, Jason. But you know, what comes to my mind, then, is a bit like Burn Notice, with Ellie/Sarah being some combination of Maddie/Fiona, and Morgan/Casey being a combination of Sam/Jesse.

        It works, but the results seems sorta disappointing. Know what I mean? It would loose that comic-book flavor that was baked into Chuck from the beginning. It might be good, but it would definitely be something different.

      • atcDave says:

        I could definitely see juggling the balance around, and most changes would mean less Morgan. I sure would have liked more Sarah/Ellie friendship.

      • Jason says:

        Joe – you’re missing my point. I’m not suggesting three seasons of Ellie and Sarah oin missions, I’m suggesting small once or twice a seasons uses for the pairing, important ones. Sarah going to Ellie during the first fight, Ellie and Sarah helping Chuck figure out how to get through his engagement, while Morgan helps Chuck. But sure, maybe one Ellie and Sarah spy mission, where Ellie has to be the seductress, and Ellie coaches her. If Devon’s gone, then either Morgan or Casey would have to be the practice dummy?

        And wheren’t you tired of Morgan always having the answers? Chuck was supposed to be the smart guy in the room according to the comic book, wasn’t he?

        And finally, I love Burn Notice this season, Sam and Jessie are great together, as are Fi and Maddie, and Mikey working alone, but not really is also great. The LI is very Castle like, there, but not really, opposite of Chuck.

      • Jason says:

        Oops – I meant Sarah coaches Ellie on being a seductress.

  3. Jason says:

    This ep was my second rewatched ep after not watching anything after season 5 ended last year. I loved this ep on rewatch, a top twenty for me, because I love Chuck and Sarah eps and this ep was a GREAT ep for Chuck and Sarah. This was the show I wanted. I’m not trying to concince anyone to agree with me, only saying how this ep played Chuck and Sarah is the show I fell in love with. I suppose the tease that the show would become more like Hart to Hart excited me too. With the odd portrayal of Chuck after this ep, with his lying ways, I’m not sure the show ever exactly found the Hart to Hart mood on a consistent basis, but I recall being excited that this ep would become the ‘Role Model’ for the future of the show.

    Two bad things for me, this ep began the neutering of Casey by Morgan, Casey became a comedian and a bafoon, a joke, beginning right about now, which took some of the drama out of the show or heaped more of the drama on Sarah’s shoulders. Now I loved funny Casey, but making him the butt of Morgan’s bad jokes simply lowered the stakes in a significant part of the show and took it out of balance. Chuck needed a sense of seriousness in the B plot so Chuck and Sarah didn’t have to do all the heavy dramatic acting in the A plot, Casey was the only cast regular who provided that.

    The other bad is a good and bad scenerio, some actors fit Chuck, some don’t. Seems really obvious which ones get it. In this case I’m talking about The Turners. Mrs Turner was a hoot, a complete success, Mr Turner, for whatever the reason, he didn’t get it. He delivered his lines like he didn’t know how to speak English, with a really bad emphasis thing going on. Had John Laroquette (Roan) played Mr Turner for example, this ep would have rocked.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree completely about this as a good Chuck and Sarah episode, as far as that goes, this is really the show I was waiting for. Although you know I also agree entirely about lying Chuck. That is the single biggest disappointment of S3.5 to me.
      But I do like the pairing of Casey and Morgan. I think they made a great odd couple, most of the time. Although I do suppose that pairing may be what many fans, who disliked the “lighter tone” of the later show were largely objecting to.
      I always think Fred Willard funny, and I liked him here too. But I do think he and Swoosie Kurtz were too old. I can’t believe the CIA would have field agents in their mid-70s. I mean, my mandatory retirement as a controller is 56!

      • joe says:

        Hum. Didn’t Craig say that they were looking at themselves 30 years ago (when C&S opened the door)? I’d peg them at 60.

        Ah, but the actors… you’re right. Swoozie was 66 and Fred was 77(!) in 2010. They look better than this, though.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I think the Stones are a really bad example!

        But that’s what my 45 instead of 30 quip was about above; it just looked painfully obvious to me that they were WAY more than 30 years older than Chuck and Sarah.

      • mr2686 says:

        I also like the pairing of Casey and Morgan, and also agree that Willard and Kurtz (and I love them both) were just a little too old for this episode. On a show like Chuck I can overlook things like that, but I’m thinking maybe a Bruce Campbell would have been old enough and also played it well by just being himself and then maybe someone like Bebe Neuwirth.

      • joe says:

        Bruce Campbell and Bebe Neuwirth? Great choices! I like it.

      • joe says:

        Oooohhh! And I just realized that Christine Baranski (a Buffalonian, btw!) would be great as Mrs. Turner. She’d have to play it half-way between Sheldon’s mother and Diane Lockhart, but it would be awesome.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh Bruce Campbell would have been an excellent choice!

      • Dave says:

        I agree with that, Willard and Kurtz were just too old. Even so, Kurtz did kinda OK, but Willard was terrible.

        Also the three story lines made it a little crowded. Still a good episode for me. Didn’t quite make the stand-out hits list, but still good.

    • joe says:

      You got me wondering who might play Craig Turner, Jason, if not Fred Williard. After playing Roan, I can’t quite see John Larroquette in the role. Somehow, I can see a slightly younger Sean Connery or a Mark Harmon doing it, but I know that it wouldn’t work because neither has a comedic bone in their collective bodies.

      It needs someone who can play an action figure but still can make you laugh. Harrison Ford, maybe?

      • atcDave says:

        I think those choices are all too old, well maybe Mark Harmon. Maybe Bruce Willis or Corbin Bernsen? Bill Pullman, Dan Aykroyd, Brett Cullin.

        For the women, Jacklyn Smith, Lynda Carter, Stephanie Zimbalist.

      • mr2686 says:

        Darn Dave, didn’t read your reply till after I wrote mine. Lynda Carter would have been great. Also could have some great dialog about her still be a wonder woman.

      • joe says:

        Wow. Except for Willis and Aykroyd (of course), I didn’t recognize those guys. I sorta like the idea of how Bernsen might play it (he’s the father/ex-cop on Psych, right?) After looking it up, I see that Cullin was in POI a lot, a show I watch every chance I get. But I don’t even recognize him!

        I like the list of women, though. I can see any or all of them doing it. Teaming Lynda Carter with Mark Harmon is interesting – It’s hard to think of a more formidable couple!

      • atcDave says:

        Richard Dean Anderson! Oh he would have been funny.

        Yeah Joe Corbin Bernsen is dad on Psych. I never would have considered him for comedy before, and he sure would have played it differently than Fred Willard. But as the exasperated tough guy, he’s perfect.

      • joe says:

        Anderson’s a good choice! As for Mrs. Turner, it’s funny how my mind is going to the same list of actresses that we once considered for Sarah’s mother. Cheryl Ladd is one that’s got my imagination now.

  4. Wilf says:

    Although this episode is, for sure, a little insignificant compared with many others, nevertheless it was one I really enjoyed, for I loved the generally light tone of Role Models. As some of you have said, after all that went on before Honeymoon in Season 3.0, there was always the worry that things would again go sour for Chuck and Sarah. Seeing how the rather minor problem for Sarah of moving in with Chuck was resolved simply and positively within one episode, rather than be drawn out over a whole arc, was a real relief and pointed the way forward.

    Sure, there were dark times to come, but, never more, in reality, would Sarah and Chuck be separated for spurious and gratuitous reasons (well, hardly at all), or divided by OLIs/PLIs/LIs (or whatever the correct term is for those entities).

    I’m sort of ignoring the Series final arc here, of course!

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with all of that Wilf. I also really like that the various issues that come up between the, will (mostly) be dealt with on a week to week basis. No more drawing relationship issues out for weeks at a time.

    • joe says:

      What Dave said, Wilf. I like the lighter tone here too. It was needed after the climb out of The Misery Arc.

  5. Ernie Davis says:

    I only have one quibble with Dave’s review and recap. Once the honeymoon is over I think it very obvious that to Sarah life on the run with Chuck, where they could be anyone and do anything would be a less frightening prospect than actually (gulp) settling down and moving in with Chuck where she’d have to be Sarah and talk and express her feelings and let Chuck get to know her and scary stuff like that.

    • joe says:

      You’re right – she would and she would resist that every step of the way. Which is exactly what happens! 😉

    • atcDave says:

      Well it was played for laughs, so I’m not going to object too much. But I do think they drew the domestication of Sarah Walker out in too many steps, a lot of them seem redundant to me (especially moving in and unpacking as two different steps! Brother…). Especially since she’d already run away, or tried to run away with Chuck several times. Including once with fake IDs as a married couple.

      But it is the sort of thing that just affirms the show as a comedy first, a drama second.

  6. resaw says:

    Among the interactions that stuck out for me in this episode, for suggesting that there is actually some development going on in the Chuck and Sarah relationship was when Chuck was frantically preparing for the arrival of the Turners and Sarah says, “Would you please sit down. You’re making me nervous.” To me, that tone from Sarah is brand new, at least when directed to Chuck. There is a bit of an exasperated note to those words, but I take that as there also being a new level of comfort in Sarah’s sense of herself in relation to Chuck. Yes, as Ernie notes, the idea of settling down, the significance of moving in together, is a huge step for Sarah that unfolds over time, but she is beginning to take those steps. I like it.

    • joe says:

      Ah, well put, Resaw. That’s the idea I’ve been trying to get across, not as successfully as you.

      I have a feeling that you need to feel a little confident in your relationship before you feel secure enough to push back a little. C&S are indeed bickering, but the confidence is just starting to come into play. I like that too.

    • Dave says:

      resaw

      In fact, I think Sarah always intended to move in and was just having some fun with Chuck.

      The time at Otto’s party when they discuss it, she is clearly laughing about it. I believe she is very comfortable with Chuck already and is just having some fun.

      • atcDave says:

        I like that take on it Dave. I did love the party scene, that was the moment I knew we should be laughing about it. Chuck and Sarah were.

      • joe says:

        Ooof! I suspect I’m just too sensitive to that bickering! It’s like the “Spidey kiss” sceen in Suitcase then? A bit of a tease. I can live with that interpretation.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I also tend to be sensitive about too much bickering. I only find it amusing in small doses. But I think it’s one thing they generally did very well on Chuck, perhaps it’s mostly a performance issue. Zach and Yvonne seemed to always strike exactly the right tone; never really angry for long, but having fun and letting us in on it. I thought the party scene was a perfect example of that, with Sarah teasing about it, and Chuck clearly not giving up.

      • Dave says:

        atcDave, Joe

        Also, when Otto showed up they played as if it was “our apartment” as well as acting as if they were the married “Bartowskis” for the benefit of the Turners.

        I also loved the confrontation with Otto in C&S’s apartment, I mean giving Sarah the codename “Octopussy” when there were others available (Onatopp, Honey Ryder and my all time favorite Pussy Galore). The missing cache and confrontation were great.

      • joe says:

        Oh yes! Great scenes, Dave.

        But you brought up the single biggest unforgivable sin of all – unforgivable to us language-lawyer types. They put The Bartowski’s on the card. AAAAARRRRGGGGG! NO APOSTROPHE ALLOWED HERE!!! Bad proofers. Bad, bad, bad. No Soup For You!

      • Jason says:

        1 or 2 of the writers had a ‘bickering’ way of writing. This ep almost felt like the museum scene in mask. The bickering struck me as odd on my initial viewing, on rewatch, I didn’t even notice it. Context has a great way of fixing or ruining things, in this case, context helped me ignore the bickering and really enjoy this ep a great deal.

      • Dave says:

        How could I forget… Plenty O’Toole and Holly Goodhead.

      • uplink2 says:

        Jason, that’s because Phil Klemmer wrote Role Models and we all remember his “writing” of that pinnacle of episodes you also mentioned.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Remember it’s not just that Chuck is pushing and re-defining their personal relationship, it is also Beckman pushing and re-defining their professional one.

      The stress and the bickering (mostly played for fun) had their place because as most bottle episodes are, this one is about the new state of affairs and the characters making peace with that. They bicker and stress-clean and listen against their better judgement but they do it as equals.

  7. uplink2 says:

    I’ll comment more when I finish my rewatch later but had to give Joe a big thank you for posting Sans Soleil in the posting. I think that song and both of Miike Snow’s songs used in the series are two of my all time favorites that this series turned me on to. Absolutely love the feel of the music and the lyrics Joe quoted especially these:

    Without sun we pull what feeds us from the heat that’s in-between us

    Really fit much of the new mood of the series and Chuck and Sarah at this moment. What is going on between them is the food of life. The acceptance of the new reality and thriving on it is what I had been waiting for ever since I became a fan of this show. It really is a new comfort zone for both of them and is such a joy to see.

    • joe says:

      Oh, I agree, Uplink (and thank you). Miike Snow’s music was one of the bigger musical surprises I had because of the show.

  8. uplink2 says:

    So I finished my rewatch last night and all during it I kept thinking of the same word to describe this episode and what it is about. Role Models is a “comfortable” episode. It’s about Chuck and Sarah becoming more and more comfortable in their new situation and relationship status. It’s about Beckman being comfortable with it as well. It’s about us being comfortable with the reinvention of the series and moving past one issue that was a big part of a major turn in season 2 with Chuck and Sarah living together for real and not for cover. It’s about Sarah being comfortable with putting roots down and thinking long term. It’s her being comfortable with the idea of marriage that becomes so prominent in season 4 especially after she freaks out at the idea of babies in Suitcase. It’s about them being comfortable enough and confident enough in their relationship to have the kind of bickering banter that all couples have on some level.

    It’s about Casey being comfortable with his new troll bestie and no longer being the only “fat kid” on the team. It’s also about Ellie NOT being comfortable in her new situation.

    I always found it interesting that Chuck never once consulted or talked to his “roommate” about having a third person move in with him before deciding to ask Sarah. I mean if you are sharing the rent with someone isn’t it normally protocol to talk about a third person being there all the time?

    This episode isn’t entirely a bottle episode in that it does introduce Justin and ends with his exposure as with the Ring. Was he talking to Shaw already then? Or was it just the Ring’s plans to use Ellie to get to Orion once they saw him at Ellie’s wedding?

    All in all I really enjoyed this “average” episode as it is fun, light heated and reassuring that the relationship status change is permanent. All in all a top 6 or7 of season 3.

    • atcDave says:

      I think “comfortable” is an excellent word for this episode. Especially for Chuck and Sarah as they find a comfortable new normal we can all get excited about.

    • Jason says:

      My second fav of season 3, and a top 20 overall. I liked it much more on rewatch, and liked it on first watch plenty too.

      This ep took no steps back, and a bunch forward.

      I found the roommate consult thing odd too, for a different reason. Sarah Walker has shared beds with some of the most handsome, richest and most powerful men in the world. Anyone with half a brain would probably work something out with her and Morgan both, that would probably result in the couple living together, and the roommate moving on. That would require having a conversation, and would not allow the issue to be played, so I understand. Just was a little wierd.

    • uplink2 says:

      That’s interesting that you rate it so high Jason. For me my #2 of S3 is Subway. It’s a well written and executed dramatic episode and the first time where Routh doesn’t drag everything into the mud with him. He gives a decent, not great but decent, performance and compared to his other performances it’s a big change.

      Role Models is a lot of fun and just a very pleasant way to spend 42 minutes.

    • Dave says:

      Uplink

      I always took this as a cautionary tale for C&S. At least to me it was obvious that they were having C&S “mirror” the Turners. I mean when have we seen Sarah drink more than a glass of wine? I can think of only once and Carina was involved. Female is the killer, male is the talker.

      I think the Turners were a warning to C&S about what NOT to become.

      • atcDave says:

        I noticed that about the killer part, funny.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree and think it’s part of the whole if you let it the spy life will eventually corrupt everyone. It’s another warning that they both needed to be very villigent and true to who they are but eventually they will have to find a way to leave it all behind or they risk becoming the Turners.

    • Dave says:

      Oh, and about the roommate. It was Chuck’s apartment and Morgan is the boarder. Frankly, if I had a woman who looked like Sarah move in with me, it wouldn’t take a year to have Morgan hit the curb, I’m thinking a couple of weeks to find a place then heave-ho.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree. I was surprised they let him stay there as long as they did.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        There was far too much comedic potential with the three of them there to move Morgan out anytime soon. Sadly, aside from an awkward late night encounter raiding the fridge and an awkward play-date the best Morgan/Sarah moments revolved around Morgan trying to keep Chuck’s secrets from Sarah. Morgan has no-place to talk when he accuses Chuck of cracking like an egg in Zoom.

      • atcDave says:

        It did always seem like a lot of comic potential was lost in the living arrangements. I especially could have gone for a wider range of Morgan/Sarah interactions, and of course more of the domestic side of Chuck and Sarah would have been nice too.

  9. Jason says:

    My s3 favorite eps in order, 14,15,13, tie 16-19, 3,2,4,10,6,5, tie for last 1,7-12. Maybe I’ll watch 16-19 next and break the tie, I recall not liking them much at all as I was hoping for more eps like Role Models, except I liked CS being a couple, which made 16-19 better than the rest of the miserable season.

  10. Ernie Davis says:

    From our ChuckThis polling division the results of our rankings (episodes compete for votes) and ratings (episodes are given a score of 1 to 5) the most popular episodes of season 3

    By ranking are:
    ————————
    Chuck Versus the Honeymooners
    Chuck Versus the Subway/Chuck Versus the Ring Part II (As one episode)
    Chuck Versus the Other Guy
    Chuck Versus the Beard
    Chuck Versus the Tic Tac
    Chuck Versus the Angel de la Muerte
    Chuck Versus the Role Models
    Chuck Versus the American Hero
    Chuck Versus the Three Words
    Chuck Versus the Living Dead
    Chuck Versus the Tooth
    Chuck Versus the Nacho Sampler
    Chuck Versus the Final Exam
    Chuck Versus Operation Awesome
    Chuck Versus the Pink Slip
    Chuck Versus the Fake Name
    Chuck Versus First Class
    Chuck Versus the Mask

    By rating are:
    —————————
    Chuck Versus the Honeymooners
    Chuck Versus the Ring Part II
    Chuck Versus the Other Guy
    Chuck Versus the Subway
    Chuck Versus the Tic Tac
    Chuck Versus the Beard
    Chuck Versus the Angel de la Muerte
    Chuck Versus the Role Models
    Chuck Versus the American Hero
    Chuck Versus the Living Dead
    Chuck Versus Operation Awesome
    Chuck Versus the Tooth
    Chuck Versus the Three Words
    Chuck Versus the Final Exam
    Chuck Versus the Nacho Sampler
    Chuck Versus First Class
    Chuck Versus the Pink Slip
    Chuck Versus the Fake Name
    Chuck Versus the Mask

    • mr2686 says:

      Interesting list. Top 7 (in various order) look spot on, but for my money (and I know most people won’t agree) I would move Role Models and Tooth way down and move Fake Name, Nacho Sampler and Three Words up…followed closely by First Class. I know, I know…boo hiss boo hiss. 🙂

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I would probably move First Class, Nacho Sampler and Final Exam up and American Hero and perhaps Tooth down.

    • atcDave says:

      I wouldn’t change it much; except for moving Final Exam to the absolute bottom, and moving Operation Awesome up a few spots.

      I guess I’d move Beard down a couple notches too; but broadly speaking I’m okay with it in the middle of the pack.

    • uplink2 says:

      I’m actually not surprised by those results. Thanks Ernie for posting them. They are pretty similar to mine. Not many surprises though the middle group is probably very close without much of a difference between them and therefore pretty interchangeable.

      I’m not at all surprised by the top 3 thought I think Subway is better than Ring II and absolutely no surprises with the final 4 as they may be the worst of the entire series. I’d find it hard pressed to put anything else in that group.

    • uplink2 says:

      Oh and just on a personnel level I’d flip Mask and Fake Name. Mask is such a poorly written episode it didn’t bother me as much because it is simply so awful its almost laughable but Fake Name is in a class of hatred all it’s own in part because it was a much better written episode what I hate about it I REALLY hate about it. But funny how the bottom 7 are all from 3.0. That’s not very surprising in the least.

    • Dave says:

      The “by rating” list works for me except I’d move Role Models above Tic Tac and put Beard below 3W. Then I’d draw a line below 3W and that is my cut line. Not interested in watching anything below 3W.

    • Dave says:

      I should have said “re-watching”.

  11. mr2686 says:

    For those of us not in the know, where are those rankings (rankings and ratings) coming from?

    • Ernie Davis says:

      At the end of season 5 I was conducting a series of polls. There were a few posts from December 2011 to February 2012 where we invited readers to rate all Chuck episodes on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best). It’s a totally unscientific sample but it was fun to play with. We also did a series of seasonal polls where you had to pick your top 6-10 or whatever based on the length of the season. There was also a competitive pick your top I think 2o-ish episodes of season 1-4. If you click on my name (not the avatar) on the side-bar and scroll through, clicking on “older posts” at the bottom as necessary you can find them. Or select the month from the archive button.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Links to the main four posts on ratings and rankings are here for the seasons 1-4 poll, here for the seasons 1-4 results, here for the season 5 poll, and here for the season 5 results.

      The polls are all closed now, but there was some interesting discussion as usual.

  12. Ernie Davis says:

    I mentioned we see this every so often, so I thought I’d share. Today we have nearly 240 hits from Italy at the same time a big chunk of our archives is being read 1, 2 or 3 times. We can assume we have a new fan of Chuck and/or this blog joining us. No need to de-lurk if you aren’t comfortable doing so, and don’t worry you are completely anonymous until you wish to post.

    • atcDave says:

      Which is why I’m always tempted go back and delete some of my early posts…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I admit to correcting typos and an evolving opinion on some things mostly season 3 related. I blame Shaw.

      • atcDave says:

        Well and we started during that long break between S2 and S3, and it just took us a while to figure this whole thing out. Early on there was no plan, no agenda; just opinions and rambling.

      • uplink2 says:

        Hey guys, I’d like to request you never delete any of those older posts. I found them fascinating when I looked back, and still do on occasion, and I love to see the evolving opinions as well as the evolution of the site. We’ve already lost the NBC forums plus the actual NBC Chuck site has been stripped of content and you can’t find it from the main site you have to have an old link and with the almost complete lack of activity at ChuckTV who knows when that site will be lost because of funding etc. So I’d like to raise my hand to keep the history as real and unedited as possible.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m kidding Uplink, the full content will stay up as long as the site does. I agree about preserving our history. We have about ten months of activity left on this re-watch, I expect things will slow down a lot after that. Hopefully, we’ll start hearing real rumblings of a movie by then. At some point this will just fade away, but I hope to keep the site and its archive up as long as possible.

      • joe says:

        Really! Never is a long time, Uplink. But I’m sure that later rather than sooner, this stuff will be archived.

        I’m just not sure I want to be held responsible for all my words, though! 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Uplink, don’t worry, I don’t think there is any intent to delete or alter the archives. I’ve occasionally done some clean-up on my posts when I find a typo in an old one, but that’s about it. Also a few of us changed authorship of some of Faith’s and Thinkling’s guest posts to give them authorship.

        I often like to link to some of our archives when discussing how my views have evolved, and I know the others do too. I think Dave’s joking about the fact that we’ve all had a lot of practice writing these past 3-4 years and some of our earlier work looks a bit embarrassing in retrospect. At least it does to me.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah that was purely a joke. But I’m not completely heartbroken that the beginning days of “atcDave” were lost when the NBC forums were removed!
        And sometimes I’m still plenty embarrassed by my more recent work too…

        As far as looking back at old stuff, I do find it interesting how some attitudes have matured or morphed. I think I still like exactly the same sort of entertainment I always have, I was already a pretty serious viewer of television and movies and gave a lot of thought to what I liked and didn’t. But it has been interesting to pick stuff apart in detail and figure out how to analyze or express certain things better.
        I’ve also become less patient with other shows I watch. Perhaps I used to be a more tolerant viewer. But as I’ve looked more at current trends and how certain things are done I’m actually less willing now watch a show go off in a direction I don’t care for. I think I am more cynical about modern cynicism (!); in particular, when a show starts making its heroes into anti-heroes I turn it off (I just quit Falling Skies last week). The whole trend towards destroying our heroes and role models turns me off cold.
        I’m also still pretty against the over use of love triangles, although I’d have to admit there are cases where it bothers me more or less than others.
        And yet I’m still finding lots good to watch and enjoy. Perhaps the best way of putting it is I’m more aware of my own hot buttons. And that helps me choose my viewing better.

      • joe says:

        Love triangles that are easier to take? I’m guessing that you’re thinking of Castle, Dave.

        I know what you mean about losing patience with other shows. I’ve told the story before about that dance instructor that my 1st wife trained under. I was rather bemused that she couldn’t got to the Kennedy Center and enjoy a ballet by a nationally renown company without finding something to criticize. Really, she got to the point where she couldn’t enjoy the very thing she loved to do. It was a bit sad and I don’t want to get that way.

      • Wilf says:

        Actually, I was rather hoping that after this rewatch was completed, it might be time to start a whole new one (:

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I know how you feel Dave (re: learning both how to watch and how to communicate what you see, and on the words stubbornly refusing to come even now).

        The biggest change I’ve noticed is that I’ve actually become a lot more sympathetic toward the people who make these shows, largely through the Chuck cast and crew’s interaction with the fanbase. That coupled with developing what I like to call the critic’s take (i.e. try to put your feelings aside and see the show or episode on the terms it’s presented) means I’m a lot less critical of things that bugged me in the past, even as I’m a lot more aware of things that don’t quite work. But oddly, or perhaps not, it’s made me more appreciative of the really good stuff and somewhat more picky in what I invest time in.

        In one sense it seems like something would be lost by being able to see the nuts and bolts, and it is that way often in “average” shows. In another it is like being able to appreciate a painter’s style from his choice of palette to his brush strokes only adds to your appreciation of the work itself on another level. Without my Chuck experience I never could have appreciated the unique brilliance of Dan Harmon’s work on Community, nor been so disappointed with his replacement’s attempts to imitate it. Without my Chuck experience I’d probably be a bit more invested in Castle and Beckett or Leonard and Penny, or their shows in general.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t think I would quite take it that far, that it undermines my enjoyment of other shows. It’s true nothing quite compares to Chuck, but I don’t expect anything to. But I am more impatient with certain sorts of shortcomings (especially things that make the protagonist look bad).
        Castle is a funny point. Earlier triangles on that show never bothered me much, at least not like on Chuck. But I was plenty cranky when they “flirted” with the idea late last season. I particularly disliked the whole last three episodes of the season, sure makes me appreciate Chuck even more for never doing that.
        But really all I meant is I don’t always care about the issue. If I’m not invested in the couple (like earlier on Castle) it won’t phase me. But there comes a point, usually after the couple has committed to each other, that I no longer can tolerate it.

        I’m pretty sure these issues are related. I NEED a character or two I can relate to and respect. So many shows take delight in undermining ALL their characters. I just can’t watch that. And almost nothing destroys my respect for a character faster than flirting with one character, while they are theoretically involved with another.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Good heavens Wilf, why do you hate us?! It’s often hard enough coming up with a new angle in this re-watch, I can’t imagine another. I could see some selected re-watches on occasion, but I’m with Dave, I hope that 10 months is enough time to get the movie rumors rumbling. Still we’ll have the cast and crew news to keep up with.

      • uplink2 says:

        You guys bring up some interesting points. Ernie your mention of Community got me thinking in regards to being less tolerant about “badly executed” shows than maybe just story choices I didn’t like. As I’ve said before I have been a long time fan of Community but this season was awful and I left after episode 4 and never looked back. I’m not sure I’ll go back now that Harmon is back. In many ways it was my serious investment in Chuck and Sarah as characters and their relationship that allowed me to stick it out for both story choices I didn’t like and very poor execution of those story choices in season 3.

        TBH I watch very little Network TV anymore but have become an addict for sunday HBO and Showtime Content. Those shows and TBBT are about the only appointment TV for me any more.

        As far as TBBT goes I am invested in Leonard and Penny but not to the extent as Chuck and Sarah by any means and I think that is intentional on Chuck Lorre’s part. He has done a great job of not letting it become the dominant theme on the show and has allowed other characters and relationships to grow. This past season there were like only 4 or 5 important Leonard and Penny episodes. But sitcoms are very different than shows like Chuck and Castle though I don’t watch it. TBBT is all about the comedy and the relationship angst never dominated.

        For me I’ve always disliked the Brukheimer procedurals on CBS. They are just not my cup of tea.

      • uplink2 says:

        As far as the movie goes we all know that will be question #1 at TNM this year and I think Zach knows it. I really hope he has even the tiniest tidbit of info especially in light of the fact that VM may be done shooting by then. The questions will come up and he put his neck out and needs to give the fans some info. A simple “I have nothing new to add” won’t be received that well.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, it’s not as if it undermines my enjoyment, it is pretty likely I’d have had a vague feeling that something was missing with Community’s new show runners, it’s more that I can often point to exactly what is missing or off about an episode or why that thing is missing or off. In the case of Community the new show-runners tried to adopt the off the wall style Harmon often employed, yet failed to understand it’s function and how something as silly and brilliant as imagining six divergent timelines based on a roll of a die or a nearly perfect reproduction of an episode of law and order wasn’t just some meta-joke, but produced real insight into the characters, the group and their dynamics.

        With shows like Castle and TBBT it’s not that they aren’t well made, it’s just that I’m aware they really don’t offer a new take on anything like some of my favorites do. Castle is doing a by-the-book procedural with the long simmering romance with the only twist being they couple got together, which isn’t as much a twist as many think. There are precedent’s ranging from Sam and Dianne in Cheers to Ross and Rachel on Friends (though admittedly they went to the WT/WT well a few different times with them) to Jim and Pam on The Office before we even get to Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie I guess I’ve reacted oppositely. Perhaps it’s precisely because of how the process has been demystified. But then I’ve always loathed the “stupid stick” as a plot device. And I put no stock in “I’d like to see you do better…” sort of arguments; I can’t build a car either, but I know whether my car works or not. I’m willing to be effusive when I’m pleased, but I’ll also be critical when I’m not. Especially now when I see so much to be unhappy about in modern television. I think the technical standard in television is currently very high; but story-telling, character development, and world view sort of issues are horrible. And I never want it forgotten that some of us are unhappy about it.

        I’d also say exactly the opposite about my own emotions and preferences as a viewer. Those things have become even more important to me, probably because I’ve learned so much about defining the things that affect me as a viewer. I have no interest in just “understanding” the show someone is making; my interest, responsibility even, is in defining how these things effect me and those around me as viewers. Again, I’m happy to gush when they do well. But when they fail, I think it’s important to know why.

        So far, I’ve only ever made a smattering of comments on other show fan sites. But that is something that could continue to grow. Maybe. So far, no other show comes close to inspiring Chuck-like passion. Burn Notice might come close, especially with the bitter disappointment I feel for it this season. But that’s ending, and I won’t start on a down note either.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie I do agree completely with your last about being more aware than ever about what works and what doesn’t for me. Although “original” doesn’t matter nearly as much to me as “well done”. So I’m happy to see things like Castle or NCIS that do an excellent job at a time honored formula.
        I’m okay with some pretty zany stuff in comedy (Monty Python, Steve Martin. Remember Sledge Hammer? I loved that show), but I don’t really form emotional investments in such stuff.
        But I dislike erratic story telling on a more serious subject. Even calling Chuck more serious story telling. I recently watched the old HBO series “From the Earth to the Moon”. Couple of good episodes, but on balance I didn’t care for it. I mean, they spent a whole episode on the press coverage. Oh brother. Just tell the story all ready…

      • Jason says:

        I like almost everything I watch. I never watch comedy.

        I love nothing, like near everything, usually I do not invest, and sort of go with the flow.

        Chuck was a very different viewing experience for me, in many ways, the bad outweighed the good, even though the good was better than anything else I ever was a fan of. The best offshoot of being a Chuck fan, I probably will never let a show make me feel that negative way again about a storyline, when I see the symptoms, I basically think screw that, and move on.

      • Jason says:

        Dave, so for me, Burn Notice or Castle’s recent movements into LI’s or angst, didn’t bother me at all. Matter of fact, I find it interesting, as in compared to how miserable Chuck made me feel with angst, what are these shows doing, and why doesn’t it bother me at all.

        I’m hoping on Burn Notice, that Fi stays with her new LI, Mike really doesn’t deserve her, and Mike either dying or living an Orion like existence, probably is the proper ending for the show – isn’t it?

        Castle – I think the writing team is burned out. They’re doing the same thing as Chuck. Schwartz actually had it right on Chuck, in that one s4 interview, he said he wanted to just marry them. In many ways, that allows you to move forward with the story, and lead to a new, more surprising end game, rather than dragging out a wedding end game.

        In Chuck S5, had CS bought the house, the dog, and Sarah really been pregnant in 5×8 or 5×9, then how intense would have that last scene on the beach been?

      • uplink2 says:

        Now that’s an interesting thought. That the baby scare in Kept Man was legit and the Sarah sitting on the beach was 3 months pregnant. That would really have upped the ante and changed everything dramatically especially if Quinn didn’t know it and the episode proceeded as planned. Sarah finds out in the house with Chuck when he brings her to the “baby’s room”. Wow intense!

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I completely disagree about Burn Notice. I will be very disappointed if it doesn’t end with Michael out of the business and back with Fi. But I have to admit, I’ve strongly disliked the last two or three seasons, it’s been too dark and too self important. I’m actually not even a little interested in Michael’s burn notice story, I was interested in the whole team dynamic when they were doing right and helping people in Miami. As the show as become more about the over-arc story it has become far less appealing to me. I really just want it to be over, as I’ve said elsewhere, if this weren’t the last season I would have already quit. Ideally, the show should have ended a few seasons ago. My wife has quit watching, and I’m just finishing it out for myself. Another show that had amassed a lot of investment and goodwill early, and then just bled it off.
        I do agree Castle seems to be out of really good ideas. They make a big mistake by continuing to draw drama from the central relationship after the point that story needed to be settled. I will forever be grateful that Chuck never made that mistake.

        I would have been fine with adding a pregnancy to the mix at the end of Chuck. But then the “four more words” issue looms even bigger. That was really badly needed.

      • uplink2 says:

        Sarah post kiss:

        Chuck, take us home.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Uplink, exactly.

      • Jason says:

        Funny about Burn Notice perceptions. IMO, Mike, although he is a heroic guy, has not earned a happy ending. Fi has. S5 is making this obvious, as everyone was moving on with life without Mike and pretty happy, and he pulled them all back into his life of misery. He struggles with even the smallest gesture of affection toward Fi, heck Mike is almost Shaw like in his relationship with Fi. Fi has always wanted more, and always given more to Mike. I think the writers have hinted that the show might end with Mike dead, or lets say dead the way Walter died on Fringe, i.e. dead with questions.

        I could like either ending, happy or sad, depending on how it is written.

        To compare and contrast, Chuck did nothing to deserve a miserable ending, even if Chuck was a darker show like Burn Notice, Chuck deserved to be happy. Why the writers chose to take Sarah’s memories away, and have her not show any affection to Chuck once they got in the same room made no sense to me at all, Chuck didn’t deserve that and neither did the fans. The line, I believe you, I just don’t feel it, might have been the second most awful line in the show, other than fake name. Mindboggling.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t really worry about who deserves what, if I like the character enough to watch the show I’ll root for a happy ending for them. But Burn Notice has pushed to the point where I almost don’t care anymore. Almost. True apathy is when I quit watching.

      • Jason says:

        Dave – for me it’s all about paying off the story you are writing, or getting paid off as a fan of the show you’re watching. I thought Chuck failed to pay off the story they teased all season, heck all five seasons, Burn Notice’s story is yet to be written, but … they are implying the end game may be dark, maybe?

        I’m OK either way, hope it is well done, and not out of left field!

      • atcDave says:

        If I believed that, I would have already quit. I don’t do dark.

      • Jason says:

        Since almost any Burn Notice ending will work for me, I hope you get yours Dave! I’m only warning you, compared to many shows like this, with a leading couple in the spy, police, detective, etc liine of work, I think this one has more potential to not pay off the sweet ending.

        Forgot to mention how much I thought Fringe nailed theirs, almost as good as Alias. Both gave fans the complete happy ending that Chuck failed to do, the ability to close the book, put it down and smile.

        I’m almost 100% sure Castle will end that happily ever after way, Burn Notice, that one might not, as it has been significantly less happy all along, and Mike is much more flawed and dark than most of the leads in other shows of that type.

        My son met a castle guest star on layover in an airport bar who told him that Castle will end soon, the opinion was both the leads want to do other things. At this point, that makes sense to me, and in many ways, I think that was true of Chuck. The end of Chuck has led to new opportunities and has been pretty kind to most of the cast. Both Yvonne and Stanic (along with Sarah L) are getting to the age that they are no longer prime candidates for first love type characters and nearing the age where they no longer can play coming of age type characters, so they need to strike while the iron is hot so to speak.

      • atcDave says:

        Burn Notice definitely did not start this dark. The first three seasons had a a lighter more fun feel to them. No doubt, that was the show I loved. It really isn’t my sort of thing anymore. I consider it one of my biggest television disappointments already, ending badly won’t make things that much worse. But even so, I think you’re wrong about where its heading. I think Michael will get out, and just be reconciled with Fi in the end. But what a waste; the show used to have so much wonderful comic energy to it. Especially Fiona, she was delightful those first few seasons, now she’s a self righteous shrew. So sad.

        I think Castle will likely run two more seasons. Its already into the gradual ratings decline that afflicts many shows at this age. And the end of this last season indicates a show runner who is loosing his inspiration for the material. I think fresh blood in the writers room could help, but that’s always a risky game to play. If cast is really wanting to move on, then its probably for the best. Although, I always think that’s a foolish career decision. Success is so rare, and so few actors ever find it with more than one or two parts. The vast majority of television actors disappear into near oblivian when their show ends. Even Yvonne isn’t clearly an exception to that yet, although obviously she’s the closest to breakout success.

      • joe says:

        I rather enjoyed Castle‘s last three episodes. I was thinking that they were more-or-less ignoring the romance for most of the season and made up for it during the finale. The murder mysteries were pretty good, but without the romance, it has to compete with Columbo and Murder She Wrote and McCloud and about a zillion other top-notch murder mysteries. That’s tough.

        But I agree – it looks like they’re positioning themselves to wind it up. We could have a great ride with what’s left of the story-line about Kate’s mother and their wedding, though. Funny. I could see Rick going to the courthouse, but not a church. Maybe the last story-line will be how Lexie, Martha and Kate’s father finagle that one with Ryan and Javier’s help.

        I’m weird about Burn Notice. I didn’t care much for the second-to-last season – it was just there with the same story again and again. But it improved a bit dealing with the consequences of Nate’s murder and I’ve been enjoying the beginning of this season quite a bit. I agree that they’re heading to the end though. They just need to finish the one story arc they have left.

        I was surprised last season by both White Collar and Covert Affairs. Until then I though both were pretty much out of ideas. Last season’s stuff was pretty good though, especially Covert Affairs. Annie had a great adventure and we’re being teased with an Annie-Augie relationship, something fans wanted back in S1. I’m sorta looking forward to both now.

      • atcDave says:

        We’ve continued to enjoy White Collar, but called it quits on Covert Affairs. My enjoyment of all the USA shows has lessened as they’ve gone darker and more serialized. Two things I don’t care for.
        Although we’re enjoying a re-watch of Monk quite a bit right now…

      • Jason says:

        Never watched White Collar, I don’t like Bryce on Chuck either.

        Covert Affairs has all sorts of problems, the stupid stick hits the lead female and most of her colleagues, it’s just a matter of how often per ep.

        The biggest problem with Covert Affairs is blind Auggie can’t really go on missions no matter how bad a$$ he is, so by movling the wt/wt forward, the show is sort of doomed to awkward, especially given that the lead female is pretty willing to engage in the world’s oldest profession for her country. You’d think these shows would learn, I don’t thnk anyone on either side of the Chuck divide enjoyed Sarah being written as a slut, even so much so many refuse to acknowledge the character was written that way.

        The older CIA couple is played well and overcomes most of the bad writting.

        The fix for Covert Affairs is to really up the brains and moral fiber of Annie. I’d also consider giving Auggie his sight back if the show continues to struggle, as the story in the field needs the back and forth of two characters (the best Covert Affairs are when the Israli agent guest stars, great back and forth). This is much of what Chuck went thru by making him more capable, the lead female can only protect the whimpering, simpering man for so many eps.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason you know I completely disagree with saying Sarah was written that way. We saw a total of three “seduction” missions during the course of the show, and on every occasion she teased but stopped short of actually doing anything. And her treatment of Chuck was generally classy and in good taste, except on occasion when she was really ticked at him! We have one deleted scene where she suggests going the full whore route, and the scene was obviously deleted for a reason. Funny thing too, when Crown Vic first aired we actually stopped the show at about the place where that scene would have been and discussed deleting/quitting the show. Nether of us had cared for the last couple episodes and Crown Vic started really unpleasant. We decided to just give it to the end of that episode. Good thing too, great ending, but I can only imagine if that deleted scene had aired there would have been no discussion, we would have just been done.
        But no doubt that is the single biggest thing wrong with Covert Affairs. Obviously, like with Sarah on Chuck, I’m willing to give a lot of benefit of the doubt; but Annie on Covert Affairs has clearly crossed that line. It makes both the character and show utterly unappealing. That was another one we stopped mid-episode. But unlike Chuck, they’d already lost us, we didn’t even finish what was on. Delete.

      • Jason says:

        Dave – I’m perfectly OK with your interpretation of SArah. Carina seemed to imply it a bit, the one ep did (Crown Vic?), chuck did, Pink Slip did in a fairly ‘overt’ manner, although it didn’t spell it out, then theirs the whole manner of sleeping with her boss, who she really portrayed no real feelings for what so ever and who had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But, yet, I’m OK with your interpretation. Like most of the important issues on Chuck, the only way to know, is if a showrunner tells us. Mindboggling really?

      • anthropocene says:

        I agree with you, Dave, for two reasons. First, it was my impression that Sarah’s ability to “seduce” a mark without consummation was an intentional story element: further evidence of how good a spy she was. Second, I never saw Sarah as particularly interested in casual hookups of any sort, whether with marks, colleagues, or acquaintances. (Carina, on the other hand….). She’s human, sure, and could be briefly tempted by a Cole Barker, or give in to a predatory Daniel Shaw during a low ebb in her emotional state. But bed-hopping was never part of Sarah’s nature, and this could only have been reinforced by her long-stifled feelings for Chuck (not to mention their UST).

      • atcDave says:

        Very well put anthro, thank you for that!

      • Dave says:

        atcDave

        I’m with you on the “Sarah is a slut” issue. In fact, as I’ve stated many times, without the interrogation scene in LD I would say that Sarah never slept with anyone but Chuck. The showrunners clearly want us to think she slept with Shaw, not sure why it was so important to them.

      • Jason says:

        You all are basically proving my original point, which was Sarah being written as a promiscuous spy was not enjoyable, and my other point, you’d think writers would learn. I’m perfectly content with the most pure interpretation of Sarah’s seduction skills, but the topic was written with ambiguity, up to and until the very end. Matter of fact, possibly the best proof of pure spy Sarah, is when S1’s version of Sarah in the second last ep, is willing to go on a mission as Mrs Charles Bartowski, yet she is very, very uncomfortable about it. Ambiguous to be sure, but also cringeworthy, lousy TV viewing.

      • atcDave says:

        That I’ll agree with Jason.

    • mr2686 says:

      I think Castle is good for another 2 to 4 seasons as long as the cast wants to come back. Last season had some very strong episodes including a couple that were among the all time best. Nathan Fillion is making 100k plus per episode so he probably is in no hurry to go anywhere, but the rest of the cast is making a lot less so I suspect they’ll need to get a raise or else they might leave.
      As for Burn Notice, I’m kinda glad this is the last season. Seems like the same story arc season after season with just a little bit of a tweak. Can’t even get in to the Michael/Fi story. If they end up together fine, if not I won’t lose sleep. I think Dave is correct about the show losing it’s comic energy. Even Chuck at it’s most serious retained it’s great comic moments to balance out an episode. Burn Notice really lost it’s way and that’s a shame because they could have done so much more with it.

      • atcDave says:

        I do hope Castle sticks around longer. It is often as good as anything on television; it’s exactly my sort of show, and very well done. But I am a little concerned about the last three episodes, it felt a little like going back over ground they’ve already covered. Of course that’s also fitting with my not really liking season/series finales very much!

        Sounds like we’re in exactly the same place with Burn Notice. When it premiered, it was favorite thing on television, at least until Chuck premiered two months later! But as they’ve spent more time with the actual burn notice story, it’s been darker and less fun.

      • mr2686 says:

        Dave, Castle is in my top 4 all time shows. The banter between characters is classic and totally well written and well delivered by the actors, especially Fillion. NCIS has a lot of the same elements but Castle is a notch above (and that’s not saying anything bad about NCIS which is a great great show).

      • atcDave says:

        MR I agree completely. Amazing we’re finding common ground!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Castle is still keeping me invested, and they must be pulling off the procedural with a serialized mystery and WT/WT better than most do since I’m actually willing to regularly watch a procedural in this case. But this past season some of the great Castle/Beckett banter was missing and the relationship was missing some of the spark it had in the past in my opinion. This may be one show where the Moonlighting curse does apply sorry to say. I think they needed to advance things, but now that they have they need to wrap things up. The mother mystery is pretty much solved as I recall, so that could wrap up within a season. Also season six is usually when the original cast contracts expire based on what I learned from Chuck, so going forward past season 6 probably means re-negotiating a bigger paycheck for the stars, making the show more expensive while as Dave mentioned it’s solid but unimpressive ratings start to decline. I’d say that there’s probably an even chance this season will be written to function as a series ending one. I’d be fine with that. Nathan Fillion won’t be looking for new work for long. He has proven himself able to draw an audience and carry a show. Same for Stana. And Jon Huertes and Seamus Dever need their own shows too. Or perhaps they do a budy-cop show together.

      • Jason says:

        googled this a while back as my son’t comment about the show stuck in my head, just did again, not to say Matt Carter on May 8th had all the answers, but it is an answer:

        ‘ Nathan Fillion – Stana Katic series on verge of season 6, 7 pickup … that pushes the show to the end of its contracts with most of its initial cast.’

        http://cartermatt.com/60946/abcs-castle-nathan-fillion-stana-katic-series-on-verge-of-season-6-7-pickup/

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie I do agree Nathan will likely find a new show quickly whenever Castle ends, but the others are all pretty big question marks. I really like Stana on Castle, but I think Nathan does most of the heavy lifting and I’m not sure how marketable she will be in the future. I certainly hope to see her elsewhere, but I’m not sure that the odds are so good for her. Although the odds may be better if she goes for a smaller part on more of an ensemble show. Ditto for the rest of the cast, they’ve all proven themselves good character actors, but that’s very different from a staring role.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I did some searching and found that Castle was not in the end given two more seasons, only one, but thanks for the link Jason, and you are correct, it likely means several parties involved want to see an end some time soon, whether it gets a season 7 eventually or not.

        Dave, if you look at her imdb profile Stana has been working steadily for about a decade, granted, a lot of that before Castle was as a guest star on various TV series, but I think it at least shows she was a steadily working actress before Castle and likely will be after. Same is true of the others, they were all steadily working actors before Castle. I’d guess having a successful series on your resume is enough to make you a “name” with some producers in Hollywood. It may not land them starring roles immediately, but it’s likely they’d be considered for a lot more work than they were getting before Castle. A perfect example is Mekenna Melvin. I remember an interview where she said she was getting sporadic work as an actress and supporting herself as a waitress, but now she’s apparently supporting herself through her acting alone. But then again there are the cautionary tales of Shelly Long and David Caruso leaving successful shows for an uncertain future (and Caruso doesn’t seem to mind steady employment on CSI as opposed to NYPD Blue) so your point that actors shouldn’t be so anxious for that next project (that may never come) is a valid one.

      • atcDave says:

        Caruso is a funny case. He was wanting a movie career that never went anywhere, but he found success again by returning to television.
        But yeah, that’s exactly my point. I’m not denying Stana, or Makenna, or anyone else may not find long term, gainful employment as an actor. But getting a starring role in a successful movie or television show is such a role of the dice. Obviously, many actors have long careers in supporting or character roles. But when a major player, on any show, talks about “wanting to move on” I can only roll my eyes. Even WITH name recognition it is a gamble. I mean how many “Friends” repeated major success? Well, some of them are still working…
        I don’t mean to say there’s never a time for a show to end. I think there is, for several reasons; especially for a very serialized show that’s already told its story. (Once you’ve caught the one-armed man its hard to go back!) But its that eagerness to “move on” that strikes me as a bit divorced from reality. Not that actors or other artists are known for a firm grasp of reality.

        Castle is the sort of show I think could run indefinitely, in the right circumstances. Its mostly episodic, there is no important over-arching story, and procedurals in general draw decent ratings.
        The biggest issues have to do with ratings (always a biggie!) and the ability and enthusiasm to keep it fun and interesting. I think its the Caskett interplay and the amusing and quirky sort of mysteries they come up with that make it so much fun. Its always possible the writers won’t be able to make a more stable main relationship work, which you know I think is a common problem for this current generation of writers, and that would be a good reason to wrap it up. It will be interesting to see what happens.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Nothing against Caruso, but I think he’s an example of initially letting it go to his head. He had incredible screen presence, and was convinced he could and should get a raise, and that if he didn’t the movies were beckoning. But the funny thing was that even before all that SNL had done a sketch called “What was I thinking?” where they had a moderator ask guests who’d made famous blunders “What were you thinking?”. The only one I can remember was Shelly Long (played by Jan Brewer).

        I don’t see either Nathan or Stana leaving early. For either to decide to leave would be the end of the show and a lot of paychecks depend on that show, because remember, the whole cast, crew and creative team, who don’t necessarily have the opportunities the stars do need to find their next job too. But I do think realistically they are nearing the end and they know it.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I agree with most of that; except I would say “probably” instead of “realistically”. Because I’ve seen any number of shows get a second wind and last longer than anticipated; from MASH to NCIS. Even a more serialized show like SG-1 CAN reinvent itself (two times for SG-1!)

  13. This episode begins a trend of Chuck and Sarah facing one-episode relationship dilemmas. What I’ve always appreciate is how they – and the writers – acknowledge that their struggles with each other are by two people who are on the same team. There’s never an episode where one of them is actually trying to hurt the other, or considering doing damage to their relationship. These little fights of theirs always come from two people trying their best to make the relationship work.

    This episode’s dilemma is pretty tame compared to, say, First Fight. But if, as Morgan says, the first fight sets the tone for all future fights, they definitely did it here.

    • atcDave says:

      Arthur I do think you hit on one of the things that really is so awesome about Chuck. They managed to make Chuck and Sarah clearly on the same team and respectful of each other. We’ll never see either character actually try to undermine the other. I think makes it easy to root for both of them.

  14. Angus MacNab says:

    The first time I saw this episode, I too thought it was only a little above average for Chuck. Subsequent re-watches have pushed onto my top ten list, because it is just plain unadulterated fun. The scene when Chuck and Sarah discover what the kitteh did to Ellie and Awesome’s apartment is classic Chuck – those eyes, Lordy.

    Plus, the Mrs. and I know a real life retired spy couple, and we had an absolute ball watching this episode with them one night. Dry humor overdose.

    • atcDave says:

      From average to top ten is quite the change! Of course making it personal, like it sounds like the Turners do for you is always great for a boost.

  15. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Role Models (3.15) | Chuck This

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