Chuck vs The Coup d’Etat (4.04)

The last episode of the Season Four Romance Arc.  Not surprisingly Coup d’Etat is light hearted and fun, and easily the strongest episode since 4.02 (!).  In terms of a fun start to a season, only Season Two did any better.

Picking up where we left off…

And best of all, we see the return of Alejandro Goya, easily my favorite character of Season Three.  After the jump, Coup d’Etat. 

Picking right up with the false proposal from the end of Cubic Z, this episode is pure fun and funny from beginning to end.  Even if it fails to be “important” or dramatic, there is little or nothing I would change if I could.  We get another relationship episode, broadly based on “are we ready for marriage?” as a theme.  Side stories involve Goya and his wife with rather explosive marital problems, and Morgan trying to decide if Alex is worth the possible risk of getting involved with Casey’s daughter.  So we can safely say the main theme is all relationship based.  But every one of these stories is entertaining.

The hardest part for me would be singling out what I like.  A few favorites would be Goya’s cheesy tourist video, Chuck trying to get Sarah to do the “relationship exercises” from Dr. Fred’s book (when Sarah describes Chuck as “tall” and “brunette”; I choked on the pop I was drinking…), Goya serenading his wife, Hortencia launching the revolution with a demand for her husband’s head, Sarah being distracted by relationship talk when Chuck tries to convince her Goya’s weapons are nuclear, and Morgan’s pro/con list for dating Alex (“smells good”).

Sell it!

I suppose if we look at deeper meaning issues, there is a little meat to this.  Sarah is scared of any change initially.  She is happy with her life, and apparently fears any change could be a disaster.  She finds her peace in the end when she and Chuck end a revolution with some reasonable relationship advice.  The last scene reveals how completely at peace she now is.

We also get a new tidbit about Frost; not much really, just corroboration that she is with Volkoff.  Next week will be more meaningful for this story-line.  We also get another meaningless lie to Ellie.  Its not a big thing, but its there.

And I think I’m going to stop with just this very brief write-up.  As has been observed many times, its easier to complain than praise.  And since I rank Coup d’Etat as a purely fun and well done episode, that leaves me with little else to add.

~ Dave

So Change Ruined Things

Precisely, Dave – and stop reading my mind, will ya?! I went into re-watching Chuck vs. The Coup d’Etat thinking this episode was going to be enjoyable but bereft extraordinary moments; there would be nothing deep or particularly memorable for an episode of Chuck. Admittedly, that’s a pretty high bar for them to clear episode after episode.

Um, I was close, but that’s not exactly what happened.

Ángel del Teatro

Ángel del Teatro

First of all, let me sing the praises of Armand Assente. I enjoyed his appearances as René Benoit, also known as La Grenouille (“the Frog” in French) on NCIS. But he also has an amazing presence that I’ve seen once before, watching the late, great Anthony Quinn playing Tevya in a stage version of Fiddler on the Roof at the Kennedy Center. It’s an ability that allows the great ones to make the audience laugh or cry or sing or even dance, and it’s something that demonstrates the magic of theater. Assente has that in spades, even when he’s playing it strictly for comedy, like he does here as Premier Alejandro Goya, (aka, Casey’s favorite South American dictator). About this performance, what’s not to love?

Anna Who?

Anna Who?

Speaking of love, this is where I developed yet anther fan-crush (YAFC), this time on Mekenna Melvin. Maybe it’s because it was also the episode that Morgan crossed that same Rubicon with Alex. It’s yet another great pairing (YAGP) in a series that had more than it’s share of GPs with tons of chemistry. Really. Chuck&Sarah, Ellie&Awesome… I’ll even throw in Roan&Diane here, a romance for the ages. Alex and the new, improved Morgan made me forget about the old Morgan and Anna Wu.

Then of course there were other memorable scenes that I’m ashamed to admit I had forgotten. (Major “Oh Nooooos!” I must be getting old.) Let us pause a moment to refresh our memories with music and a visual aid.

Visual aid for an aging memory

Visual aid for an aging memory

Ah, but that’s all just pleasant fluff. As is often the case, the words of that sage, Morgan Grimes, get to the heart of the matter, which is all about Chuck and Sarah are being lousy communicators.

Chuck: We’re not that bad!
Morgan: You’re great. You’re right, I’m sorry. You don’t know whether or not you proposed, or if you did, if you’re happy about it, or if she said yes or no to what may or may not have been a proposal, or if either of you ever want you to actually ask her for real. Yeah? Yeah.

Diagram that sentence, please!

Morgan’s got it right, certainly. Even when C&S make themselves talk, their conversations often miss the point (“Tall and brunette” hits it exactly, Dave, as does negotiating over how much Halo time Morgan needs every week). Chuck’s insecurities, the ones that make him afraid to rock any boat Sarah may have boarded, are bad enough. But Sarah’s are making the situation worse. Make no mistake, it’s not just that she isn’t quite talking to Chuck. Hot mystery that she is, Sarah’s not quite talking to us either!

Sarah? Insecurities?? PLURAL??? You betcha. Last week we noticed how she she reacted to the idea of having babies. This week, it’s something a little different.

Sarah: Why do we have to talk and push and change things? Why can’t we just be?
Chuck: Uh, Sarah?
Sarah: Everything is great. What if we do “I do,” and it changes us?
Chuck: It’s nuclear.
Sarah: Exactly! Everything we love about us could be destroyed!

Ah, so, it’s not exactly babies she’s afraid of, nor is it marriage, I contend. It’s the idea of changing that has Sarah a bit spooked. She’s always a little tentative about taking that next step because everything could blow up, like we saw when Sarah demurred about moving in and when she resisted unpacking her suitcase. Some people just hate change.

Hortencia: [shouting] Bring me my husband’s head! I want him dead!!!
Chuck: Not the strongest of marriages…

Señora Hortensia de la Corazón Goya

Señora Hortensia de la Corazón Goya

Like Hortencia. That’s the other GP is this episode – Goya and Hortencia (played by Tia Texada). Their relationship has gone nuclear too. Once they were young, very much in love and happy planning revolutions as they hid in the caves. Now Goya seems to have moved away from revolution and the palace is Hortencia’s prison. No, that’s not right. It’s their marriage that’s the problem. It’s not what it once was and that’s a trap to which many – I dare say, all – of us are prone.

Chuck’s final speech, which honestly did not impress me much the first time around, seems much more important, now that I understand Hortencia’s frustrations, disappointments and anger. The problems with the Goyas’ marriage can have some pretty serious ramifications, which is exactly what Sarah is afraid of. Change may indeed ruin everything…

Chuck: But change is unavoidable. Unavoidable. Life is full of changes. Constantly changing. The question is, no matter what the changes are, is the love still there?

The answer this time is spoken by Goya, but it’s provided by Chuck and delivered to Sarah. The love is there and won’t change.

She brings me the music
And I am slowly falling down again
She brings me the music
And my feet won’t touch the ground, oh, again

Ah, logic can’t prove it
And I don’t know where I am bound
She brings me the music
And now I’m floating in her sound
And now I’m floating in her sound

1 Conversation Before 'I Do'

1 Conversation Before ‘I Do’

So I was wrong. That is a bit memorable, and just a bit profound. What I missed the first few times was the way Sarah made the connection and understood the message. And you know what? When I look at Chuck’s (unconscious?) Mona Lisa smile at the end, it’s not a reaction solely to Sarah saying ‘Yes!’ to the proposal Chuck has not yet made. It’s also because he understands they are finally communicating.

And that is something I’ll remember.

– joe


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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127 Responses to Chuck vs The Coup d’Etat (4.04)

  1. BillAtWork says:

    The last scene was easily one of the best of the series, partly because it was so unexpected. Sarah’s growing. Now she just has to be able to say it to him when he’s awake.

    At that point, they are for all intents and purposes, engaged. I’m not sure why they decided to make the rest of the original season revolve around wt/wt get engaged. We already have the answer. The proposal in Push Mix was simply formallity.

    • atcDave says:

      Of course that’s partly why I thought the scene was so effective. There was never any doubt, it was just sweet.
      But yeah, the last scene is dynamite. Just a completely satisfying episode to me.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Oh, I enjoyed the scene in Push Mix. I’m not saying that.

        It’s the five or so episodes of fake wt/wt before that I could have done without.

        Sarah and Mary meeting in Aisle of Terror would have been better if Chuck could have introduced Sarah as his fiancee.

        This is an aside, but I always expected for Mary to recognize Sarah’s bracelet as the one Steven gave her when Ellie was born. I was disappointed when it never happened. It could have been used multiple ways. They could fight over it. Or it could have been a bonding moment between a mother and future daughter in law.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah there’s obviously a lot of things that could have been different. I really wish more had been made of all Sarah’s dealings with the other characters.

      • joe says:

        I’m with you on that too, Bill. You know me. I habitually cut TPTB a lot of slack, and I don’t generally second-guess others. But not having Mary recognize that bracelet is something I’ll never understand.

        Big missed opportunity.

      • BillAtWork says:

        The bracelet would have also played well into showing the contrast between Sarah and Frost, which I think was another lost opportunity. They made Mary something of a mentor to Sarah… and that’s exactly the opposite of what I would have done.

        Here we have a spy who puts an assignment over her husband and two pre-teen kids, leaving them for 20 years without a trace — and we want her to be a mentor to our hero? I would have had Sarah be given the same choice… and soundly reject it.

      • Jason says:

        Writing team missed Adler’s wit and sense of romance and / or Schwartz’s attention to writing relationships that engages the audience on a week to week basis. On the other hand, I don’t know if either could have resisted LI / PLI’s sooner or later? Better this way!

      • atcDave says:

        Bill you know I agree completely about the “mentor” situation. That was, by far, the most troubling aspect of Gobbler to me, and the entire reason that episode remains my least favorite of S4.

        Jason I think I’m glad for the departure of both of those writers. As you suggest, I don’t believe JS knows how to write an adult relationship; I’m afraid we would have continued to see soap opera with him in charge. Adler might have been fine, but her lack of sense in writing the S3 characters means I’m pleased she left.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Yeah Dave,

        I’m torn on JS leaving. I do believe that he is almost assuredly the architect of the dreaded trapezoid. But I also think that he finally had a better grasp on what the audience wanted. It took a while to realize that the Chuck audience wasn’t the Gossip Girl audience. But once he realized it (you could see the color leave his face at ComicCon) he did something about it. I think that even he realized that if they didn’t hurry up and put them together, they no longer had a show. He did some interviews before S3 even started promising that the misery wouldn’t last long and would be paid off (I’m paraphasing). I’m not sure Fedak on his own would have ever invested the story time to put them together. He simply wasn’t interested in that part of the story (which is why he can’t be part of any movie).

        Ali Adler is a tougher call. She wrote perhaps the most hated episode of the series — Fake Name. But she also wrote several of best. How much of that is her talent? And how much is the corner that Fedak’s storyline painted her into? Really no way to know.

      • atcDave says:

        I think I hold Adler responsible because Fake Name is not just bad, it’s insulting. Maybe she thought she was laughing with us, not at us; but it felt to me like the latter and I don’t appreciate it.

        I’m also not convinced I trust JS ever “got it”. I know he finally got them together, but there’s no telling how he would have written the rest of the story. As Ernie once pointed out, for some writers, even a married couple will be threatened by every outside temptation.
        CF’s disinterest may have served us well. I don’t think he micro managed how his staff was writing the relationship after Ring 2; apart from saying “they are together”.

      • BillAtWork says:

        It’s something I’ve always wondered. How much freedom did an episode writer have and how much was dictated by the demands of the storyline?

        There is no way to know, but I do believe that JS finally got it. All of his experience was in writing teen angst shows aimed at teenage girls. I think that quite by accident (from his pov) the Chuck audience wasn’t that — at all. It skewed older, more male and the major uniting characteristic was that we identified with the hero. We wanted him to beat the odds and get the girl.

        When JS announced how S3 was going to go at ComicCon, I firmly believe that he thought it would be well received. When it wasn’t, he knew that he had a problem. Too much of the plan for S3 was already committed. But he went way, way out of his way before S3 started trying to assure us that there was going to be a pay off. They were ready for Sepinwal’s damage control interview before the credits had stopped rolling on Mask.

        To Ernie’s point, I agree. In fact I’d argue that’s exactly what the finale was, a threat to the relationship. That’s why it’s so unforgivable that they didn’t fully resolve it.

      • authorguy says:

        I agree with you, Dave. When I was rewriting FN I was dreading the experience (simply having to watch it again), but I was surprised at how much of the episode worked, just with different characters in the same places. I got the feeling it was broken on purpose. It worked too well otherwise.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I agree completely about the analysis of the audience, and how JS likely misread it. But I’m less convinced he ever “got it”. He did extend Routh’s role in the front arc, after Comic Con.
        I also agree entirely about the Finale. But I think it was a failure of execution, not intent. CF tried to get cute and artsy, and he left the end too ambiguous. When you listen to him in interviews, he clearly thought he’d created a beautiful happy ending. So I think his intent was to deliver a nice happy love story in the end, but it failed because CF just isn’t really a good writer of the love story.

        Marc it is funny how badly Fake Name failed so many of us. There was obviously the kernel of a good idea, and some hints of good writing. But the meta humor, and offensive over-arching story-line, just served to annoy too many of us.

      • authorguy says:

        Dave, that’s true. I made few changes to the episode itself, but many to the story leading up to the episode, so basically the failure was endemic to the season as a whole. (That doesn’t count the ridiculously awful conversation at the outdoor cafe, or Chuck playing dentist, both of which are simply inexcusable and could easily have been avoided.) I’m not sure which is worse, saying she’s a bad writer because she wrote that bilge, or saying she must be a good writer because only a good writer could have written something so bad. It’s not something I’d want on my resume.

      • uplink2 says:

        Bill, I have asked that question many times. How much control did an individual episode writer have over their writing at least in terms of the story itself. I got into a lively discussion with someone from ChuckTV about my distrust of Ali because of Fake Name and her point was that someone was going to write that episode and part of the story and we should be happy it was Ali as it could have been much worse. She may have a point there but I’m not so sure. My issue with the episode w3as not that it was poorly written, but that the story ideas and way it was presented I felt like Ali et al were spitting in my face for actually caring about the storyline and these characters. It came off as highly offensive and dismissive of the fans with extremely little story impact. It was throwing away something we had been told to invest in deeply and throwing it away cheaply for no story benefit whatsoever. It was taking away a fantastic payoff and giving nothing but pointless melodrama and angst. It was all for nothing and it made me feel like they thought we were nothing. The attempted humor only made it much much worse.

        So my point is that I don’t think we will ever know what Ali’s impact was or what her feelings were about it. I’m certain that it was Schwedak’s initial idea of either Chuck hears her tell Shaw her real name or he sees them having sex. In many ways they chose the worst possible avenue to hurt Chuck as they certainly made it clear that they did have sex as well. So we ended up with both.

        On the finale RDM said they were going back to WTWT one more time. Their intent was to threaten the marriage. Look at the deleted scene from CvsS where Sarah takes her rings off never once to be seen wearing them again.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Uplink the offensive humor was a major part of why the episode didn’t work. It sure felt like they were mocking us for caring. Add in the wasted name reveal, and its just a mess.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I’m at a major disadvantage since I’ve never seen the episode. But I doubt they were intentionally making fun of us. It’s just that sometimes they were so tone deaf that it came across that way. And they paid a two million viewer price. If not for the middle of S3, I’m convinced the show would still be on the air.

    • I think people here make too much of the supposed wt/wt in S4. It doesn’t really exist (except MAYBE in Fear of Death). The only question in season 4 is the how and when of the proposal (and subsequent marriage). Chucks main mission in Season 4 isn’t trying to convince Sarah to marry him. It’s trying to make their marriage as special to her as possible. The master proposal plan. The romantic dinner. France. Watching Chuck try to make their engagement and marriage as special as possible, even with increasingly limited resources, is one of the biggest joys of seasons 4 and 5.

      • atcDave says:

        I’d say one of my very favorite things about the show is that once wt/wt ended, it really never came back. We saw a pretty happy couple for over two seasons. That’s rare and awesome.

        But I do think the reference here is just purely to the proposal. Maybe it’s more of a WWT (when will they!).

      • joe says:

        Well put, Arthur.

        Given the number of episodes is S4, it was actually sort of fun to think of TPTB struggling to come up with different ways for Chuck to not quite propose. I sort of expected it to happen in the last episode of the season, myself. But since everyone counts #13 as a season break with this show anyway, I think I got it right.

      • BillAtWork says:


        I called it fake wt/wt. Because there was never really any doubt that it was going to happen. And my objection is that they spent a lot of time on that plotline when there really was no suspense, time that could have been devoted to better story choices. Some of the story became a little silly, all to play to the fake wt/wt narritive.

        I get that the relationship was their big draw, and they wanted to emphasize it. But at some point I would have preferred that the relationship stop being the focus of the episodes and just be a given.

      • Jason says:

        I agree the WWT was drawn out, interesting Schwartz claimed he wanted the wedding at midseason, then again with him, he is such a wise alec, that its hard to know when he is telling the truth.

        S5 on the other hand, did the same thing, endlessly teasing and foreshadowing a red door fairy tale ending, then delivered amnesia sealed with an ambiguous kiss on the beach.

        The big picture story telling the last three seasons on Chuck seemed out of whack to me, or lets say for my point of view. Even when I liked the week to week story, there was an element of what in the world can these guys be thinking as I traveled along with them on the journy? The writing set the stage for destinations I wanted, but then didn’t deliver (in the case of the final s5) or took so long and delivered it so awkwardly that I was not longer even looking forward to the destination (Paris – engagement – wedding – happy ending), more for the journy to finally be over.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I agree with most all of that, Jason.

        It’s a major reason why Chuck doesn’t rewatch very well. I’ll have a lot, lot, lot more to say about that when we get to First Fight.

  2. anthropocene says:

    Allow me to plug one of my favorite scenes; Chuck and Sarah fighting off baddies to save Ellie and Awesome. Watching C&S “doing some spy stuff” so well together is almost as good as watching them lovin’ on each other. Not to mention what may be one of Devon’s best lines in the series; “Dude! He blew my head off!”

    • Even after Ellie sees Chuck in action, the only thing she can think of is how noble his sacrifice was, to give up something he was so good at. Really annoyed me.
      I loved the ending, Chuck bursting out of the walls to offer relationship advice. Casey’d been in there two weeks trying to kill him and Chuck blows their cover in two minutes! Other most favorite scene: The bad guy says he would hate to shoot a man in a wheelchair, and Casey stands up (!), and Goya knocks him out to save his life. A round of heroism for the house!

      • anthropocene says:

        I agree that Ellie’s response was silly, but Devon loved it at least.

      • atcDave says:

        I was also very annoyed by Ellie, but loved all the rest!

      • What was annoying about Ellie?

      • atcDave says:

        Her clinging to the idea of Chuck quitting the CIA. She’s all happy about manipulating Chuck into quitting something important that he’s good at. Don’t get me wrong, I think the shame here falls primarily on Chuck for not just TELLING HER. But she pointedly makes it hard, steamrolling Chuck into the lie. It doesn’t reflect well on either character.

      • Oh. I guess I never thought about it that way. For me, it kind of made Ring II more excusable – Ellie still saw Chuck as her screw-up younger brother. It hadn’t really dawned on her that he might be a world class spy; she just thought her dorky brother was in over his head (and really, she wasn’t that far off). Seeing that he might be good at being a spy wouldn’t necessarily lead to her encouraging him to put his life in danger again. That’s an understandable failing, unlike Chuck lying to her about it all, which is inexcusable.

        But that scene is definitely a favorite. Sarah Lancaster does a great face acting job throughout it; you can see her shock at Chuck’s competence. And really, Awesome is just on fire throughout the episode. Another reason Chuck’s lying is inexcusable: telling the truth would’ve gotten us more Ellie and Awesome. Alas. 😦

      • uplink2 says:

        What annoyed me about Ellie in this otherwise great episode was on the plane coming back from Costa Gravis when she is talking to Chuck she never once mentions how incredibly awesome and instrumental in saving their asses Sarah was. I never got why they didn’t explore the Sarah/Ellie relationship more. Part of my belief that Ellie was the most underutilized character on the show.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I agree as always that Sarah was underutilized. To be fair to Ellie, Sarah was not staged in such a way that Ellie saw her do much. she basically needed to be saved by Chuck.

        I blame the writing…

    • joe says:

      I like that scene too, Anthro.

      Heh. I also get a kick out of Devon calling the statue “Marble-Me.”

  3. What a fantastic episode. The remarkable thing about season 4.0 is that the show just hits constant doubles and triples out of the gate. Simply everything works in this episode. The Awesomes get precedence over the Buy More for once, which is awesome (naturally). Chuck and Sarah’s banter is great here, with Chuck having some great moments (Impossible. Guess we’ll have to save the world some other time!)

    It’s great to see Chuck looking up to Ellie and Awesome’s relationship. Ellie’s older sister influence on Chuck isn’t emphasized much on the show, but it’s always touching when Chuck looks up to her as a role model. And as much as people hate on the Buy More being around, Big Mike is always a pleasure to watch. He was great in the last episode, and he shines again here. When has anybody learned anything important from a book!?

    Much like the similar episode from 3.0, this is the high point of the season so far. It’s topped by Couch Lock, which is even funnier, but Coup d’Etat is one of those great episodes of Chuck where it hits on all cylinders. It reminds me of TV reviewer who, when reviewing Chuck, always broke the episode down into Heart (I would have said yes), Comedy (yes, I have a nuclear arms base in my basement), and Action (Ellie seeing Chuck-fu for the first time).

    • atcDave says:

      Well, I wouldn’t want to choose between this and Couch Lock, both are dynamite episodes, but otherwise I agree with all of that Arthur.

    • mr2686 says:

      This episode is a testament to how great Chuck is. In the Statistics thread, Coup d’Etat is listed at 47 in the poll. I think there are a few ahead of it that are not as good, but a few behind that I like better, so all and all this is a middle of the pack episode. That’s saying a lot for a 5 season (2 of which were short) show that has 2 full seasons of shows that are more or less better than this episode. I’m surprised that this episode doesn’t show up more on anyone’s favorite list…and maybe it will if we take another poll, but I think it gets overlooked in the very solid season 4.

      • atcDave says:

        And in particular it goes to the theory that average Chuck is still an incredible thing.

      • mr2686 says:

        I agree Dave. Average Chuck is Great Chuck. As I’m going through the seasons and ranking each episode, I’m finding that some favorites are making their way further and further down the list closer to the middle. That doesn’t take away from their greatness, just that there’s sooooo many great episodes and only so many top spots. It is sad though, almost like not picking your best friend/s to play on a sports team.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I’m not sure that I have favorite episodes. I have favorite scenes. I don’t think I’ve rewatched an entire episode once. I skim the scenes that I like. But if there was a single episode that I would watch all the way through, it would be DeLorean.

      • mr2686 says:

        DeLorean is a darn good choice. It’s one of my top episodes, and not sure yet how many are ahead of it, but the ones that are or will be will have such a small difference that it’s a bit of a coin flip.

      • uplink2 says:

        That’s why Jack Burton is probably my favorite guest star. Absolute perfect casting and both his episodes were great. Wedding Planner is one of the absolute best of season 4 and DeLorean is probably my #6 episode all time. In fact DeLorean is the episode I credit with really hooking me on the show. I started watching with the Jill arc and liked it but after DeLorean I think because I finally saw the incredible chemistry and fell in love with the romance that I became obsessed with the show. DeLorean is flawless in many ways. It has one just so much from beginning to end.

      • BillAtWork says:

        DeLorean is the episode that convinces me that the back nine slowed down the relationship to get to Colonel. Tell me that they aren’t openly in love. It’s after Breakup. It’s after the Jill arc. Chuck is openly jealous that Sarah is having dinner with another man. Look at Sarah’s face when dad tells her “that kid would never betray you.” She isn’t wistful. She is genuinely pleased.

      • atcDave says:

        Delorean and Wedding Planner, both just perfect episodes!

      • Jason says:

        My top 3 are The Pilot, Delorean, and Honeymooners, those were perfectly magical eps for me, with no other ep achieving that standard.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Jason, I like your 3. Other episodes have the more powerful moments. but other things drag them down.

        Seduction has perhaps my #1 scene when Roan asks Chuck if she is worth dying for, he pauses for a beat, and says ‘yes.” Zac nailed that. But the Sasha Banachek storyline was fairly lame.

        Phase Three had some excellant scenes but the B story drags it down.

        Santa where everyone is calling their loved ones and Sarah is looking around with no one to call and then Chuck giving her the bracelet (clearly an ILY) is right up there. But again, the story was pretty lame.

        Other Guy had the DYLM scene and the confrontation in Paris. But the beginning of the episode was annoying since they totally ignored Sarah throwing her gun on the bed in the prior scene.

        Lethal Weapon is not close to a favorite. But I pumped my fist in the air when Cole asked Sarah if it was fair to have to care about someone and not let them know, and Sarah replies “No, because it isn’t.” Cole thought she was talking about him but she was talking about Chuck.

      • I’m throwing Push Mix, Phase 3 and Goodbye into the ring. Won’t talk about Goodbye, because everybody’s entrenched, but Push Mix and Phase 3 are the definitive episodes for those two characters (although Baby and Cougars can make an argument for Sarah). Push Mix is the episode where Chuck best reaches his full potential as a spy. And Phase 3 is just a tour de force from Strahovski.

      • BillAtWork says:


        They are all strong episodes.

        The dual scene in Phase Three where dream Sarah and real Sarah are both saying the same thing was maybe the best executed concept of the series. I’m surprised that it didn’t win any awards. But the B story kinda dragged it down (not all that unusual). Still a great episode.

        I loved the confrontation in Push Mix and how Chuck played Volkoff. I even liked the Jeffster performance, by far their best. But the story on the ship wasn’t as well done. And of course the off delayed proposal was great.

        Goodbye doesn’t rise to that level for me. And not only because of the ending. I found that the trip down memory (no pun intended) lane was a bit heavy handed. I actually liked Sarah better. “I love Chuck Bartowski and I don’t know what to do about it.” has to be a top ten moment.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur I certainly wouldn’t argue with Push Mix and Phase Three as defining episodes. Performance wise, I even agree with ranking Goodbye right up there too.

    • Dave, I’ll bring you to the dark side (loving Goodbye) yet! Bill, the trip down memory lane was the one problem I had with that episode. Not that it was heavy handed (though it was, admittedly), but that they didn’t take more advantage of it to show Chuck as the dorky-yet-charming guy Sarah fell in love with. They did a little in the extended version, but I think if we had just had one scene where Chuck really made Sarah laugh and like him as a person (the restaurant would have been perfect for this), people would’ve liked it a lot more.

      Instead they showed him being Chuck the kind and clutzy hero. Which is good, but the show already established that Chuck’s heroism wasn’t what made her fall in love. My one qualm with that episode.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Arthur, it’s a great point. In the weeks leading up to the finale, I argued that Sarah losing her memories was okay. It would just allow her to fall in love with Chuck all over again. That’s what BrickRoad and I did with The Long Road Home. If that happened in Goodbye, then it was much too subtle for my tastes. Had we felt that Sarah was falling for him again, the beach ending wouldn’t have felt so abrupt maybe.

      • atcDave says:

        I had basically no problem with Goodbye as an episode. I would have preferred if the “falling for Chuck all over again” angle had been played up a little more, but it was a pretty good episode, with a couple of dynamite performances.
        I only really have a problem with it as a finale. WAY to understated at the end. I NEEDED something more certain at the very end. We’ve had this talk so many times, and I’m pretty sure at this point what I needed to be completely satisfied. As little as adding “take me home Chuck” as the screen faded to black would have worked just fine for me. But what we got was just screaming “artsy cute ending to pad out the resume” to me. I needed to know my favorite couple was fine, and I got a Screenplay Writing 101 project.
        I’ve made my peace with what actually was shown, and what was meant to be shown; but it will never be an ideal ending for me.

        Even better; I would have treasured an ending that let me celebrate one last time with the characters I came to love. Yet sadly, we didn’t get to see any of Sarah Bartowski in those last two episodes.

      • BillAtWork says:

        That’s a great point Dave. I was looking forward to being able to say goodbye to the characters that had been a large part of my life for the past 5 years. I feel cheated out of that.

      • mr2686 says:

        I don’t know Dave, that kiss got more passionate as we start to fade to black. It certainly screamed “take me home” to me.

      • uplink2 says:

        Bill. My feelings exactly. I was so looking forward to treasuring that moment of saying goodbye to the characters that meant so much to me. But it never happened. I was denied that moment for the “artistic” one.

        The sad part is that it was so easy to have been fixed. I will never ever understand if their intent was to write an ambiguous ending why they went around to anyone who would talk to them telling them it wasn’t ambiguous but that Chuck and Sarah are happy, running a business and making superhero babies. If that is what they wanted us to take from it then show it to us. But they wanted it both ways. The artistic ending and the satisfying ending. Too bad I at least didn’t get that.

        Not one of the memories tidbits that they showed us on their trip down memory lane showed any context, any connection to Chuck himself and to his part in her life. They were meaningless throwbacks with no context and therefore totally insignificant.

        The episode was well acted, well directed, well shot, and well executed. A great episode but a terrible series finale. A memory loss storyline is a very risky way to end a series. a season? Fine but not a series unless you take enough time to absolutely show how it is resolved and they didn’t. It was incomplete and it took away my chance to say goodbye to characters who meant so much to me. Even if we get a movie that is something that I can never get back. Just like I can’t make Fake Name disappear and be unseen, I can’t ever get that first emotional moment when I said goodbye with a teary smile, knowing Sarah Bartowski was complete again.

      • atcDave says:

        MR I thought it was sweet, but it was lacking the sort of intensity that would have said more.

        I HAVE come to accept that was the intent. But I had questions when the episode first ended.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        I (might) “believe” the finale. I just don’t “feel” it.

      • atcDave says:

        Well put and succinct Capt!

      • uplink2 says:

        Capt. I think that nails it perfectly. And for me the show was always about how it made me feel. It was never about understanding intent or deep seated mythology. It was about how these characters and their story made me feel about them and about myself. I know that drove/drives my obsession. It is also how I can ignore the very obvious flaws it had. Now I think many times that is what they were going for, a feel that necessitated a lot of hand waving, but many times it is obvious to me that they didn’t see what I saw or understood their audience enough. Season 3 and the finale being the biggest examples. I can not fathom how they thought another round of OLI’s that necessitated turning their lead characters into extremely unlikable shells of their former selves to drive that story was going to fly in season 3. It simply boggles my mind. It also shows me a lot of hubris thinking they could pull it off and “it’s going to be great”. Sorry Schwedak, it wasn’t. Not even close.

        Same with the finale. They seemed tone deaf to the idea that much of their audience didn’t see what they saw. Didn’t feel what they thought was there and that the minimalist “artistic” ending would be hailed as brilliant. Some did and still do certainly but far too many see the exact opposite to call it successful. The only ones that seemed to see that from the fans were Zach and Yvonne. That’s why I hope they are the driving force behind any movie. I will never “feel” Fedak’s ending but I know I will feel Zach and Yvonne’s.

  4. resaw says:

    I realize that one of the qualities that Yvonne Strahovski brings to her portrayal of Sarah is that she is a beautiful woman. It seems to me that she tries on bikinis in front of the closet more than once in the course of the series (although I suppose I could be re-watching it in my mind multiple times). In the context, it actually makes sense, though. However, when Casey, Chuck and Sarah are crawling through the walls of the palace behind the nuclear bomb control facility, while Chuck and Casey are wearing full camouflage outfits, we get to see Sarah in a tank top. Context doesn’t seem to justify that difference….

    This episode seems to do better in my estimation than it did earlier, even than it did during my first viewing of it. I’ve probably just become more of a pushover when it comes to romantic scenes, I guess. I enjoyed the Morgan-Alex (Morgex? Algan?) development quite a bit, especially because Morgan realized he was putting his life at risk by opening himself up to Alex. I gotta agree that the ending was great, though. It was great to see, as you observe, Joe, that Sarah is opening herself up to change, including life with Chuck in marriage. If I can put in a plug for a fanfic, I’ve been reading Marc Vun Kannon’s nine2five series recently, and in a certain dialogue between two well rendered characters from the Chuck canon, observed that Sarah’s relationship with Chuck did not diminish her world; instead it enlarged her world. Marc said it much more eloquently, and I don’t want to simply quote it because I think you should all read it for yourself.

    Dave and Joe, thanks again for taking the time to reflect on this episode. I am always grateful (even when I occasionally disagree).

    • Well, if we’re going to start questioning the practicality of Sarah’s outfit choices, we’ll be here for a VERY long time. 🙂 Seriously, why on earth would a spy wear high heels in an infiltration mission? (I’m looking at you, Hack Off)

      Also, it’s all worth it for the scene in Kept Man where Sarah tries to talk Casey into wearing a bikini.

    • joe says:

      Thanks, Resaw. Disagreement is fine, of course, especially if it starts a discussion. As always, my incentive is to write about the things that affected me in a given episode – and to get it off my chest, so to speak. All the rest (like the friendships I’ve made here) is gravy.

    • Thank you, resaw. The words are mine, but the observation is one that I first heard made here on this board. Many parts of that story were first discussed here, often as I was writing a chapter, and they just fit right in.

  5. Joe, just wanted to say thanks for the continual musical insights. Chuck’s soundtrack is really quite brilliant, but I often miss it. It’s nice to catch it here. Kudos.

    • joe says:

      My pleasure, Arthur. I find that most of the cuts have some special meaning that help me understand the story or the characters. Often the music is brilliant in it’s own right.

      Hum… my collection is almost complete. About the only pieces I haven’t bothered to include in my playlists are either “elevator music” snippets, things like The Mexican Hat Dance and Christmas Carols, which have special meaning for me outside of Chuck.

      Now if I could only find Jeffster doing Leaving on a Jet Plane

  6. Wilf says:

    I loved this episode from start to finish; as you guys say, it was just such fun right through, as well as being so significant for the evolution of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. What I really liked was that, for once, there wasn’t an annoying, angsty “cliffhanger” at the end, just an incredibly sweet and meaningful last scene.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I agree entirely Wilf!

    • joe says:

      Awww – I don’t mind the cliffies too much, even if they were a touch overused. Some of them were great. I especially like the way they ended First Kill with C&S running from the CIA together. Perfect lead-in to Colonel and Barstow.

    • uplink2 says:

      It’s also how the cliffys are resolved that impacts how I see them. The cliffy from Fat Lady was fantastic. The resolution in Graviton wasn’t. Same with Santa Claus and 3D.

      • mr2686 says:

        For the most part I agree with Uplink, but I really didn’t mind the resolution in 3D, but then again, I know I like 3D much much better than probably anyone else here. As for Gravitron, I think the resolution was fairly poor and I’m not sure if that’s why it’s one of my least favorite episodes or not, but it doesn’t help.

    • atcDave says:

      Hmmm, well I agree with Uplink in principle; although I disagree with both specific instances. I would agree with calling 3D a weak episode, but not for its resolution of Santa Claus; I would say the failing there was purely that it was overblown in the first place. I thought Gravitron was an excellent conclusion to the Jill arc; my only possible complaint being that I would have liked a more definitive statement of affection, that is Chuck choosing Sarah over Jill in the end. But ultimately I’m fine with the fact this was delayed for a while longer yet; and I’m okay with leaving the positive resolutions to this arc to fan fiction.
      In fact, I’d say apart from the misery arc, ALL the show’s cliffies were MOSTLY resolved adequately. Just that sometimes the underlying issues were drawn out too long. But even that is almost entirely an S3 malfunction. Other things, like drawing out the proposal story, well ideally I would have dealt with it sooner, but I have no major complaints with how it was handled.

      Now I would say several plot ideas, or potential ideas were dropped and left under developed. Things like the Orion lair, the Volkoff fortune, and Chuck and Sarah as Buy More owners. But these are not huge issues to me. Just minor disappointments.

  7. Angus MacNab says:

    One of my favorite visual snippets from this episode was when Sarah picked the lock on the door using a pair of cocktail skewers with cherries on them. Oh, my gosh. That so epitomized what she was about and her ability to find a quick working solution to so many of the problems they encountered. And there was rich symbolism in those two bright red cherries caught up in her tradecraft.

  8. Angus MacNab says:

    Well, she is pretty darn awesome, yes sometimes impossibly so; and very flawed.

    I’m always looking for these little visual Easter eggs when I watch this show, because it’s loaded with them. Here we have two cherries, Chuck and Sarah, in love, and skewered on this crazy existence together, doing the impossible daily, trying to open the door to their future with improbable, and at the same time, endearing tools in a very ad hoc way. Wish I could post a still photo of that close up.

    • Dave says:


      Now that you’re back on the air here, how long until another installment of the Farm??

      • Angus MacNab says:


        I apologize for my absence here. So often times I feel completely out of my depth in this format of give and take opinion. Most of the time I come here to lurk and read. I guess, like Chuck, I may be avoiding any protracted discussions or conflict until they are forced upon me. 🙂

        I really don’t know when another episode of The Farm will be back. I’ve started the next chapter, and I’ve been working on a one-off of it for the last couple of weeks; a flashforward to late in the summer. It will come out first. It’s a stand alone because there is some mature content and I don’t want to change the rating of the main story. The timing is appropriate, though, since that is where we are now in the summer. This one-off foreshadows some things that will follow where we currently are now in the story, and it’s dripping with romance (been using the word dripping a lot lately 🙂 ). It’s August, it’s hot, everyone’s burnt out at Flying B, and they finally get a break. Sarah waylays Chuck and gets him to to show her the swimming hole mentioned in chapter 5. Yeah, *that* swimming hole. 😀 They fly there in the Super Cub. Arggh! *ziiip!* No more!!

        But I’m stuck right now. I’m in my element, in every way, and I’m stuck! I’m more than half way through! And ironically, the block has very little to to do with the story as I’ve envisioned it! I’m still recovering from a rather difficult Midwest spray season – decompressing, trying to de-stress. It had its moments. I guess you could say it’s left me feeling a little fragile. A certain four letter acronym frequently comes to mind. I also hate to say this, but even as apparently popular as the story is, I’ve started to let doubts creep into my mind about the general acceptance of the premise and characterizations in the story from within the fandom. It’s affecting my ability to create in a very negative way.

        The Chuck fanfiction community can be a very difficult sandbox to play in on occasion. Lots of cats lurking around, lol. It’s not by any means unique to this fandom either. I do feel like I need to learn to tune all that out, and just write the story, not worry about what a certain segment of the audience or some fellow writers think about this version of Chuck or Sarah. I’m not getting anywhere with that at the moment. I’m trying to work through it. There are some authors here who know exactly what I’m saying. I *know* there are. 😀

        Anyway, this really isn’t the venue for this. I’ll save anything more for a more appropriate place. Hopefully I’ll bust through the wall and get it out soon. But I must be frank, the wind has been stolen from my sails, and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to last in the Chuck fanfiction community.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Hey Angus,

        Not really the place for this but I had to offer my support. I know EXACTLY what you’re saying. My solution was to stop posting on If you want to read my stories, you now have to register. It limits my audience. But it also eliminates the cowardly anonomous reviews that you can’t respond to, are often simply mean spirited and stupid, sometimes even degenerate into personal attacks, and suck the joy out of writing.

        Hang in there.

      • authorguy says:

        That’s a tough feeling. I hope no one was especially hostile, just watching the numbers of comments go down can be a drag. It may have nothing to do with you though, readership is down generally. I admit I’m reluctant to start any new stories, but that’s mainly because I’ not really seeing any new stories to tell. Under those conditions the lack of reader support has more effect. You really should be writing the story because you want to, not for any other reason.
        This blog is making me think about season 4, which I haven’t watched since it aired, so maybe I’ll do a nine2five version of that. Everyone seems so happy with the way S4 turned out the bar is pretty high for doing a better story, and I’m not really interested in just retelling the episodes (I couldn’t anyway, with no engagement or marriage storyline). On the other hand S5 really needs a better story, and I need to go through S4 to get there.

      • BillAtWork says:

        My opinion is that S4 should have been far less about the engagement and subsequent marriage. Those things were fait accompli anyway. I would have made S4 more than just the search for mom. I would have it be the parallels (and contrast) between Orion/Frost and Chuck/Sarah. They told us some story about Orion. They told us some story about Frost (as much as it makes sense anyway). But they didn’t tell us anything about their relationship. From what I can tell, Frost was a CIA Agent and Orion started as a civilian scientist. Was Steven Frost’s asset? Does their love story mirror Chuck/Sarah with a tragic ending? Were they fighting a secret war? Are Chuck and Sarah destined to become the new Orion/Frost and carry on that war, hopefully without the tragic ending that befell Orion/Frost.

        IMO, that would be a satisfying storyline.

      • authorguy says:

        I was thinking the same. In my case the engagement and wedding are already done and Orion is still alive, so the story would be entirely about Frost and Orion. Trying to reconcile all the conflicting stories about Orion would take a lot of work. The whole season is about family, with even some parallels with Volkoff and Vivian to throw in.

      • atcDave says:

        Angus I sure hope you’re able to come to terms with whatever/whoever it is that’s bothered you. You really are a terrific writer, both “The Farm” and “Lost Years” are awesome contributions to this fandom.
        It gets discouraging here sometimes too. Especially when disagreements get tense or feel personal.

        I guess the main encouragement I would offer is that there are plenty of readers who very much enjoy your work. I know when I hesitated to get started on Lost Years I couldn’t escape other fans who were telling me how great it was. You DO have a loyal following!

        I also know there are other writers who have grown frustrated with this fandom. It is always a loss for the rest of us when a good or promising writer decides to give up. I really hope you find the desire to write many more chapters, and I look forward to every single one that comes up.

      • Angus MacNab says:

        Thank you, gentlemen. I do appreciate the support. Having said that, there is a huge irony hiding those first two sentences that I’m going to let lie. When all is said and done, I have been writing these tales for myself – mostly. The fandom does seem to be on the decline, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The show has come to an end, and fans can be fickle. Only a very special few fandoms maintain their popularity after the last episode. *points animatedly at Star Trek* However, this is also really a time to stick together and to try and keep this one alive and vibrant.

        There are often divisive forces at work in any group of fans and those lines of division can sometimes come from the most unexpected of places. Sometimes it can be quite startling. Reviews and support for The Farm that you can see have been overwhelmingly positive, so I can’t say that’s been a force driving me away from the fandom. No one has come right out and said anything mean spirited. But there is an unseen undercurrent in everything dynamic, and that has been the most troubling one to me. I’ve let that riptide suck me under, when I know I should have held my footing, dug my feet into the sand, let it pass, and then dove right back into the surf. Heh. Couldn’t help myself there. 🙂

        Here’s something for you, Bill. When I first started to write the Farm, it was only an exercise for me in descriptive writing for aviation related stories. Then I started to ask myself, what’s the overarching theme you’d like to explore with this story if you’re going to continue it? The answer was exactly what you suggested; take a hard look at the parallels and contrasts of the Frost/Orion and Chuck/Sarah relationships. Tell both their stories at once, with a big twist, concentrating on the dangers and the pitfalls of their respective romances hiding secretly within the clandestine spy adventure into which they’re thrust. That’s what I’m ultimately trying to do on the Farm. The Chuck and Sarah whirlwind romance on the Farm is how I envisioned Stephen and Mary’s romance going in this AU. Of course, others may, and do have other opinions about that possible story, but that was the way I decided to present it, in an effort to turn some often overused tropes and paradigms on their heads and come up with something different.

        Sorry for the thread hijack, Dave. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

        Was I the only one who saw the symbolism in what Sarah was doing in the scene I described?

      • atcDave says:

        I for one am excited by that idea of the story you want to tell Angus. I hope you get around to it.

        But I don’t really get symbolism. I usually need to be hit over the head. (just ask my wife…)

      • How can I pass up an opportunity to compliment three authors that have given me hours of enjoyment? The stars are all aligned – you are all in the same thread – a highjacked one no less. I selfishly hope all three of you continue to post stories. You are all different. You all bring a different perspective to the characters. And for me, well you give me an opportunity to get lost for a little while with characters that I like. I’ll admit to being a poor reviewer at times – but I do drive your readership numbers up as I read & re-read each chapter, looking for the Easter eggs you all like to put in. So please, keep writing. Keep publishing. It is appreciated.
        And Bill, are you publishing somewhere other than Livejournal these days? I’ve been looking forward to a COL update!.
        Thanks for sharing your gifts and talents with us all.

        And I too am sorry for continuing the highjack ….

        okay, maybe not.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Still just LJ, Pete. I haven’t posted a chapter in a couple of weeks. I’ve been in and out of the hospital. I have one about 1/2 done. But thanks for asking.

      • atcDave says:

        I approve this high jacking…

      • joe says:

        …as do I. Sorry I don’t have much intelligent to add, though. I’m a little in awe of you guys who write a consistent theme, beginning with someone else’s concept, that becomes original. That’s pretty cool.

      • authorguy says:

        Save your awe for Bill and Angus, Joe. I try to color within the lines as much possible, which is a totally different kind of challenge. I could never go off the reservation the way they do.

      • uplink2 says:

        Damn not again. “Comment could not be posted” I hate that.

        Angus, just wanted to add my support and you know my feelings on the subject. I’ve experienced some of this as well and unfortunately in any large group there are dynamics and politics that can hinder something we all came to for enjoyment. I just hope you can find the spark as we need to nurture great writers like you to keep this community alive. I’ve been a big supporter since you began and you know my offer is always there.

        I also wanted to thank you for our chat the other evening. It helped me push through some things on my side as well and I appreciate it.

      • Jason says:

        I dabble with fanfic. Words flowed for me in the past, for all my stories, I was able to pop them off easily, often in one sitting. Then, a few months ago, I hit the wall, writers block. Not sure why. I too write for me, I suppose maybe I’ve gotten my stories out of my system, which is probably a good thing?

      • authorguy says:

        You should always have a story inside you. The real issue is whether that story needs to come out more than something else. The story that wants to be written most is the story you write, but sometimes that story isn’t a fanfic.

      • Dave says:

        What did I start!!!!??

        Angus, see we love your work. Keep at it, I’m not your only fan.

      • uplink2 says:

        It’s funny. I’ve often found some of my best stuff comes from fighting through a writer’s block. Often times it takes the pressure to see the path that you couldn’t see before. I also find talking to folks, getting an objective set of eyes helps you look around the problem to what’s just behind it allowing you to find that path more easily.

        My problem is I have a number of ideas I want to flush out but I want to finish what I’ve started first. Nothing bothers me more in FF than abandoned stories. I know it happens and real life can have an impact but I feel an obligation to those that took time out of their day to read some dribble I’ve posted to post a completed story.

      • Angus MacNab says:

        Jason, I don’t know if I could characterize a block as actually having the story out of your head. To me, having a block means my head is about to explode because the story is creating so much force within it trying to get out! So maybe you’re experiencing something different. I good friend recently told me that the characters had simply stopped speaking to her, and she was just waiting for them to start talking in those familiar voices she recognized once again. So many different things can shut all that off, or color it, or spin it into territory where it doesn’t belong.

        Things like deadlines, and committees, and powerful personalities with differing opinions on the vision. Sometimes simple day-to-day events in our lives throw everything askew. Sometimes it’s something much larger. These are things to bear in mind when we analyze the ebb and flow of any story, like the one we love to talk about here.

      • joe says:

        I try to color within the lines as much possible, which is a totally different kind of challenge.

        This seems like the literary equivalent of paintings by The Dutch Masters. I may be even more awed by that, Marc.

      • authorguy says:

        Thanks. It’s just something I’m good at, I guess.
        I’ll push myself a bit more, next time. I have a prequel to write, and maybe the Honeymoon story I didn’t tell, before I try to tackle S4.

      • anthropocene says:

        Angus, uplink, Marc, et al.—thanks for your heartfelt words about the travails of keeping at it and hopefully sustaining the community (hoping against hope for a movie that will light everything up again?). As one who’s come very late (post-series) to the FF party, I fear that the audience is leaving before I’ve come close to finishing. I probably shouldn’t read traffic graphs, but I’m data-driven and I do. I’ve gotten into something of a negative feedback loop: I know long delays between updates hurt readership, but declining interest makes me more reluctant to put other things aside to write FF. Still…I hope you all do keep at it, and I’ll do the same.

      • authorguy says:

        I came late too. I wrote the Hannah HISHE when FN aired, but I didn’t write anything more until the finale, and then I had a lot of stuff occur to me.
        I saw pretty severe attrition among my reviewers, probably those people who just couldn’t stand giving Shaw a noble end, but I had several who were there through it all, and really got what I was trying to do, and they really came through for me. I rather have their multi-paragraph essays than a thousand ‘thanks for the update’ one-liners.

      • Angus MacNab says:


        I know what you’re saying about having something still in their wanting to take flight, but having to wait until other things are completed. I’ve got a crossover fic bouncing around my skull, already partially outlined with a first chapter rough, but I have concerns about getting it done in my current state of mind, and especially with all the other projects currently on my desktop. I also abhor the idea of leaving a story incomplete. I’d probably yank a story down before I let it hang like that. Maybe I’ll try to write this one in its entirety before publishing. It only outlines to about 50k words. Maybe six chapters. We’ll see.

        Now back to the swimming hole… Oh, my gosh! They’re…!!

      • Angus MacNab says:

        Yeah, what Bill said, Marc

        What you’ve been doing has it’s own very unique set of challenges. It requires a lot of thought to pull that off. Running off the reservation is really fairly easy, aside perhaps from having to draw a new and compelling plot within the wireframe.

      • authorguy says:

        That’s what I find awesome! It’s so much easier to do this when so much of the scaffolding is built for me.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow, great discussion you guys. I have no doubt finding the time and passion to write is an intensely personal thing. I know with building models, some days the drive is there, some days it isn’t. I only know that I still enormously enjoy all the effort that goes in. Even now, I probably spend close to ten hours a week just reading Chuck fan fiction. At this point, it matters more to me than the show. (Of course, that may change if we ever hear of a movie project!) I’m so used to reading Chuck fiction at the gym I’m afraid my cardiovascular health will suffer with the drop in new output. So you know, no pressure or anything, but write, or it will kill me.

        All seriousness aside…

        I do think the fan fiction experience has strengthened and deepened the whole Chuck experience for me. All of you writers who have weighed in here are a huge part of that. I am indebted to you all.

      • BillAtWork says:


        I didn’t know what fanfiction was. I stumbled onto it more by accident than anything. And I quickly found that I was enjoying some of the stories more than I was the show itself. I wrote my first story because I was ashamed that I was taking so much from the experience and not giving anything back. My hand was shaking so badly that I could barely push the mouse button to post it.

        Then it happened. I got my first review. Somebody actually liked it (or was being nice 🙂 ) So I was hooked. Especially since I found that I had lots of things that I wished the show would tell and didn’t.

        Most of the original old timers have faded away. People like GoChuckGo, LeeCan, and SharpAsAMarble helped a lot. But it was BrickRoad who was (and still is) my major influence. She is an English major so she knew the difference between to, two, and too. I struggle with that so she helped a lot. 🙂

        We were just talking about this yesterday. We’ve told the C/S love story in almost every way that we can. If we wanted to do another story, we can’t think of what it would be about.

      • atcDave says:

        Well Bill I know you know; but you are to blame for my ff addiction. I remember at the old NBC forums you were one of the guys I most often agreed with. So when you started talking about this fan fiction thing I had to check it out. And then later, when I wasn’t liking S3 spoilers so much, I started reading from your favorites list.
        Of course now, my problem goes way beyond just you. But you were my gateway.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Dave, I had to force myself to stop reading. I found that other stories were impacting how I wrote the characters. My early Sarah was much more like LeeCan’s Sarah than Sarah from the show. Of course now that I’m more experienced I’m free to have my Sarah be like neither. 🙂

      • uplink2 says:

        Well there are still some things I’d like to try writing. I’ve had a finale fic outlined for over a year but haven’t written a word. It’s a different take than I’ve seen anyone do so I’d like to go there at some point. I also want to write a fic with Bryce being an important character and expose my view of his complexity a bit more. Plus I’ve got a couple of one shots I’ve had for ages as well and a few AU loose ideas. But it is time consuming and you do need a spark. There have been nights where I had freed up time to write and simply couldn’t start. I got distracted or didn’t have the drive to get started. That happened last night for a bit till I got an email and 2500 words just fell out on the keyboard.

        It’s a weird thing when inspiration hits. But I agree that reviews are a bit down, hits are but what is most concerning is that the number of chapters being posted are down as well. Without new content the community will slowly diminish. So I encourage new writers to join in. We all know what that felt like to post your first chapter, get your first review, and look at hits stats. It was almost thrilling when someone actually said they liked it. But I do think we will be around for a while. Hopefully long enough to get to a movie. I know I’m not going anywhere as I still enjoy rereading and there are still some fics I’ve never read to look forward to.

      • atcDave says:

        I expect to continue reading and enjoying for a long to come yet too Uplink. Even if it is a slower pace and smaller community.

        I’m actually amazed things have stayed as active as they are at over a year and half since the series’ end.

      • Jason says:

        Thx Angus, the advice about the ‘characters stopped talking to me’ perfectly describes what I feel. I enjoy writing the fanfiction when I can whip it out with the character’s help, but on my own I feel pretty useless – LOL!

        Uplink – I near always write my concluding chapter second, after my rough outline, so I’m always itching to be finished with my stories and get my conclusion told. Funny though, I almost always end up with a different conclusion, for example, in What’s next, the beach scene where Sarah tells Chuck she’s pregnant was my original conclusion, I added the final showdown and water fountain scene at the new house later, which I felt served as a better end to the story I told, as opposed to a better ending. But telling the endings to my story always seems like the most fun for me.

        ActDave – I love all this info the other fanfiction writers are sharing. I could read a couple hundred of such posts. Maybe you could write a small Chuck fanfiction ‘best tips’, worst ideas, biggest surprises, most fun, etc type teaser, that could get some of these guys and gals to share even more?

      • authorguy says:

        It’s not stopping. I just finished my review of my latest novel, and the first thing that happens when I start to drive to work is I start composing my nine2five prequel story!
        To me as well, the act of writing a story is really the story telling me what to write. When that doesn’t happen it can take forever.

      • uplink2 says:

        Jason, It’s funny but I have a similar situation. I have had the ending of LL&L planned since I began the story over 2 years ago. But much of the journey has evolved into areas I never imagined. I had no idea it would be this long and much of the story I have felt like I was simply transcribing what the characters were telling me. I will say that those moments are magical when they happen. I never had experienced anything like it. LL&L never really had an outline as when I began I had no idea what I was doing. But I wanted to give back to the community that had given me so much enjoyment. So with the encouragement of bdaddydl I wrote the first chapter and sent it off to him. He gave me some great feedback and after a large rewrite I posted it and off I went.

        Permutations came about as a moment of inspiration while trying to come to terms with not getting to say goodbye to these characters I loved so much just after the finale aired. I felt a great melancholy and used that to write that story. It was pretty much outlined in my head from that first night of inspiration. Again the ending with the baby monitor idea was from the first moment it hit me. It grew into the fairytale as I wrote the chapter when a voice in my head brought me back to my days rocking my own kids to sleep.

        But I agree I think knowing the ending is as important or more so than the beginning. And my biggest frustration in this community are great stories left abandoned. I hope to never do that.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason, and everyone who’s really into the fan fiction discussion. A couple years ago we did have a wonderful guest post from ersk4 that led to a pretty terrific discussion, with a lot of ff writers weighing in and offering their thoughts about writing. Anyone wants to return to that discussion it can be found here. Don’t be shy about commenting in an old thread, it should remain on the recent comments tab for several hours, and if the topic proves very popular we can always start a new post on the topic.

  9. Dave says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes. I think the lecherous Gen Goya (Armand Assante) is an absolute hoot.

    C&S time is great in this one. And I agree, Ellie is both clueless and annoying. The end scene of the episode should have clued her in.

    Good all around episode, not my all time favorite, but pretty high up there on my stand-out list.

  10. resaw says:

    Re: the fanfic thread: All I can say, guys, is that I’ve enjoyed your stories a great deal. I’m a patient sort, so, if the posting of the next chapter gets delayed, then I have the pleasure of rereading the story so that I can better follow the thread. I also am given the opportunity to read other fanfic stories that I may have neglected due to too much TV watching… er, the demands on my time. Thank you.

  11. Chris Dunlap says:

    Guys, as always exellent posts and discussions. I’m one of those readers that most of the time stays in the background. I do read the fan fiction material specifically the stories that target the last two episodes and post beach items. I know we have discussed the finale many times and it occurs almost during every episode discussion. I do think the ending has an affect on readership and participation on the series re-viewing. We all know what is coming and most of us were disappointed. Given that, at least for me, although I enjoy rewatching the series, it brings back the lingering WTF I had when I could not say a proper goodbye to my TV friends.

  12. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Coup d’Etat (4.04) | Chuck This

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