Season Four Alternatives: Engagement (4.14-4.19)

This period seems heavier on stand alone episodes and short arcs than is typical.  It will start the engagement period, have a new Intersect arc, and introduce Vivian Volkoff.  So once again, let’s talk about some different ways of doing things.  The things I want to see “fixed” from this period of the show are few, but there’s always alternatives…

Just as in my previous “Alternatives” post, we’re dealing with a period of the show where I have few serious complaints.  So I’m really not thinking in terms of any major, sweeping changes to canon.  But I can still imagine a few tweaks to the story, and I’m sure some of us can think of completely different directions the writers could have gone.

In doing the main episode posts I’ve already covered a few things I would have liked to see done a little differently.  I’m not going to repeat all of that here, except for a couple of highlights.  The biggest isn’t really even a story issue, well maybe the story could have been a little different, but mostly I think Vivian should have been recast or performed very differently.  I just never saw that Volkoff character that’s supposed to be in her.  Now of course Volkoff is the product of a computer program, but we were told a few times in these early episodes, that Vivian is her father’s daughter.  I needed to see some strength, toughness, and maybe a bit of mental instability to buy that.  What we got was pretty understated.  And she seemed mostly confused and adrift.  Her actions are a bit psychotic; from deciding Chuck has betrayed her, to siding with Riley, to later trying to kill Sarah for the alleged grievances.  But the performance is just WAY too understated for this show.  In short, its no fun at all.

Ellie’s story is another thing I would have liked to see play out a little differently.  For starters, I think it makes both Chuck and Ellie look a little silly that she is being kept in the dark here.  It could work if Ellie was actually working for the government to sort out her dad’s research.  Even better, if Team B knows what she’s involved with, but Beckman and company have no idea about her research.  Maybe that starts with Chuck never explaining how he got the Intersect working again?  Or maybe the computer simply stays with Chuck and/or Ellie.  Or maybe Chuck makes a copy of the hard drive for Ellie and the government so both have versions.  I think I like that last option the best.  That would allow both the government’s hell spawn Intersects while Ellie makes her Agent X discoveries.  The other thing that needs to play into this is Ellie discovering Chuck as the Intersect.  In canon, its almost a throw away moment, as Agent X immediately becomes far more interesting than Chuck.  I think we should have had an episode or two when Ellie is learning about how the Intersect works (and occasionally doesn’t) on Chuck.  Maybe they can even clarify the impact of her alterations to her father’s original design.  Like maybe Chuck no longer needs the governor? Or maybe he will be less prone to locking up when emotionally overwhelmed?  Any of this could have been fun and interesting material to get into.  Maybe even we get to see Chuck and Ellie experimenting with the original design to change some details, and we end up with the occasional odd glitch.  Like wrong skills going off, maybe downloading “Match-lock” instead of “AR 15” (Sarah says “Chuck you really don’t need a powder horn to use that gun…”) or learning Esperanto when he needed Portuguese.   Apart from a brief scene in Operation Awesome I was always disappointed in how the Intersect never had any fun malfunctions, this could have been another opportunity to get some of those.

Some good fan fiction does come out of this stage of the show.  Let me start with “Ellie vs the Bridesmaids” by Imagination-Parade.  This doesn’t spin off from any particular show moment, and could logically be almost anywhere from the end of CAT Squad to right before the wedding.  But it does seem fairly early in the process as Ellie spends the day with Sarah and the other bridesmaids to do some wedding planning.  Actually, they never get out of Castle’s costuming room, but that’s hardly the point.  What is really fun with this story is Ellie getting a rather terrifying glimpse of her soon to be sister-in-law’s life.  This piece is only two chapters long and could be read in 20 minutes..

Another fun story, and more of a true alternate, from this period is “Chuck vs the Bank Robbery” by Lucifugee.  This has bank security footage from Chuck and Sarah’s spectacular heist at the end of Bank of Evil being leaked to the press. And its seen by Ellie, Devon, and a roomful of their friends.  This is over the top wild fun.  Unfortunately it was never finished, abandoned two and a half years ago.  But enough is here to get the point.  What we have is a highly entertaining set up to something would have gone off in a completely different direction from the show.  Don’t be scared off by it being incomplete, it is a fun start, and we can imagine the wild directions it might have gone from the abrupt end. It could be read in less than an hour.

My final offering here is far more involved than the others.  This one starts with Sarah’s need to replace her Porsche (so again, after CAT Squad).  It is “Sarah vs The New Car” by Quistie64.  The title sort of sums it all up, how did Sarah decide on the Lotus?  Of course it involves government cut backs, lots of bad advice, and a shady car salesmen.  All is a ton of fun and could be read in about an hour.  If memory serves, I believe this story ties in to Quistie’s longer Ninja Librarian stories.  But we will save those for later posts in this series.

As always, I hope to hear from any of you may have ideas on how the show might have gone for this period.  And I’ll do another Alternatives post with related fan fiction after we do the Season Four finale next month.

~ Dave


About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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36 Responses to Season Four Alternatives: Engagement (4.14-4.19)

  1. Justin says:

    atcDave, it’s nice to be back.

    RECAP OF 4×13: Chuck’s search for his mother and fight against Volkoff come to an end. Chuck reveals to Frost that Volkoff brainwashed her into becoming the person she is now. The memory gaps she suffers from is the result of that, not CIA involvement like she thought. Frost later kills Volkoff after he attacked the Orion base where she was being held to rescue her and kill his enemies. She then tells Chuck the name of the dead CIA traitor who sold her and Volkoff the Intersect designs. The name helped Chuck fulfill his side of the bargain with the CIA Director. Because of that, the lives of Chuck’s loved ones are safe from harm and his mother will get the professional help she needs. Ellie gives birth to her baby. Greta quits the CIA, throwing her lot in with Chuck and the gang.

    4×14: Two days have passed since the events of last episode. Chuck and Sarah have been catching up on lost time in the bedroom while their store recovers from the turmoil it had been through. Things have been going well between Casey and Alex’s mother Kathleen (Kathleen is actually Casey’s ex-fiancee, not ex-wife; sorry for the error of calling her so in the past) since the dinner they shared together with Alex. Ellie returns home from the hospital with her baby. Frost is currently residing in a specialized mental treatment facility which Chuck and Ellie are allowed to visit to see her. But the CIA Director warned Chuck that if Frost leaves the facility before her treatment is completed, she will still be considered a threat and the kill order on her will be reactivated. Killing Volkoff and sharing everything she knows about his organization has helped acquire her some immunity for her crimes. But that immunity can be easily revoked on the Director’s say-so. In case she escapes, Frost has been implanted with a tracker by the CIA to make it easier to track her down. Ellie wants to visit her mother as soon as possible and for her to see the baby. But something comes up before such a visit can be arranged. Ellie is informed by the Orion operative looking after Beckman that Beckman left her refuge to save an old colleague, CIA seduction specialist Roan Montgomery. He went on a rogue mission to seduce and capture counterfeiter Fatima Tazi. But the mission led to his own capture and Beckman’s as well. Chuck, Sarah, and Casey come in to save them both.

    Long story short: Chuck, Sarah, and Casey succeed in saving Beckman and Montgomery. Afterwards, Beckman informs her former team that she refuses to return to the CIA. After everything she has been through, Beckman doesn’t know who in the organization she can trust anymore. Until she does for sure, she will remain under the radar and find some way to cease the danger against her. Chuck accepts Beckman’s decision and thinks about the future because of what the General said about the CIA.

    The episode ends with the cliffhanger in which the psychologist overseeing Frost’s treatment is revealed to be secretly working for the CIA Director. He’s keeping the Director updated on what’s being learned about the extent of Frost’s brainwashing. The Director seems interested in it for some reason.

    That’s all for now. Working on the other episodes.

    • atcDave says:

      Thanks for continuing on with this AU Justin! I like everyone is mostly in a good place for now. Fun twist on Seduction Impossible. I look forward to CATs…

      • Justin says:

        4×15: Chuck and Ellie visits Frost in the specialized mental treatment facility. Ellie brings her baby with her and reveals to Frost that she named her child Mary after Frost’s former self. But the visit becomes increasingly awkward when Frost finds it difficult to open up to her children who are more or less strangers to her. She raises the issue of her role in Stephen’s death which she now feels guilty about after finding out who he is to her. Chuck points out to his mother that she didn’t know who he was at the time. But Frost doesn’t think that matters because at the end of the day, she killed her husband in cold blood. So she tells Chuck and Ellie that perhaps it would be best for them not to visit her again until her treatment is completed and she is fully Mary Bartowski again. Because as long as it is ongoing, she is afraid that in their eyes, whether they want to admit it or not, she will always be the woman who killed their father. Chuck and Ellie are saddened by the outcome of their visit to the facility.

        Meanwhile, Sarah receives a surprising visit from Carina and Zondra, members of the CAT squad she was once a part of years ago. She learns from her former team members that someone wants them all dead. Amy, another member of the CAT squad, has already been eliminated. Sarah tells Chuck what’s going on and Chuck jumps on the opportunity to help Sarah as a distraction from what happened with Frost. While working together to find out who is after them and how to stop them, Chuck notices the personal tension between Sarah, Carina, and Zondra. Besides the issues of the past that are between them, Carina and Zondra can see how much Sarah has changed and wonders if that makes her soft. They are also turned against each other by the suspicion that one of them may have turned traitor and is working for the person coming after them.

        It is later discovered that Augusto Gaez, an old enemy from the team’s past, is behind the hit on the CAT squad. Sarah and her former team members make an attempt to get to Gaez during his celebration at Rio. Chuck functions as their tech support. But Gaez’s capture doesn’t go according to planned thanks to Amy who turns out to be alive. She faked her death to compel the rest of the team to get together to make it easier to get them all at once. Amy is the traitor. The tables are turned when Chuck comes to the rescue. Gaez is taken down and Amy is taken into custody.

        Sarah and her former team members reconcile, and Chuck comes to an important decision. Beckman’s decision not to return to the CIA last episode and Frost’s difficulty getting past what she did to Stephen made Chuck realize that there is no turning back on the past. Despite his efforts to slow it down in the past, the CIA’s Intersect project is in motion. Chuck feels he has to do something to counteract the damage he fears the CIA’s latest version of the Intersect will inflict in its path. So he decides the time has come for him to continue his father’s work on the Intersect with Ellie’s help. But the Intersect he’ll be working won’t be the weaponized kind the CIA is working on. It will be the kind of Intersect his father always wanted, the kind that will change the world for the better.

        The subplot involving Morgan, Carina, and Alex remain the same.

      • atcDave says:

        I love this version of the CATS mission, just a small twist with Amy, but effective.
        Nice touch on the Intersect research too, making it non-weaponized.

      • Justin says:

        Heads up to atcDave: I’m still working on 4×17 which will be part one of an exciting two-parter which Vivian will play a role in with an altered backstory.

      • Justin says:

        Sorry, I meant 4×16. Not 4×17.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I’m looking forward to it!

      • Justin says:

        I’m back. Sorry for the wait.

        4×16: The episode opens with Chuck visiting his mother again in the specialized mental treatment facility. She is unhappy to see her son after making her personal wishes clear last episode. Chuck is sorry about going against those wishes. But he needs to ask her if there is a copy of the Intersect designs that were sold to her and Volkoff. Chuck shares with Frost his plan to create the type of Intersect his father would be proud of. Frost publicly denies having made a copy of the Intersect designs. But the denial is an act as she slips to Chuck in code the location of what he is looking for. The location turns out to be a private, off-the-grid retreat. Frost and Volkoff used to go there to take an occasional break from their villainous line of work. The retreat is known to be the perfect vacation getaway for international bad guys. Running the place is Vivian McArthur. Her father is the notorious leader of a ruthless smuggling ring. He gave Vivian the money and resources she needed to create the retreat as a birthday gift. But Chuck, Sarah, and Casey learn that accessing the retreat is nearly impossible without going through certain channels. A plan is developed for Chuck and Sarah to infiltrate a masquerade ball that is being held at Vivian’s manor in England. They’ll go undercover as a pair of sophisticated criminals and try to convince Vivian to put them on the retreat’s guest list. Once on the list, they’ll be able to get to the retreat and track down the copied Intersect designs hidden there. Casey and Greta cover Chuck and Sarah’s backs at the ball while disguised as bartenders. After finding Vivian and attempting to charm her, Chuck and Sarah learn from her that there is only one available spot on the retreat’s guest list. Vying for that spot is Boris Kaminsky, an arms dealer whose business competed with Volkoff Industries in the past. He knows about the copied Intersect designs and has been searching for them since Volkoff’s death. Boris wants to succeed where Volkoff failed in his efforts to create aggressive Intersects. After days of relentless pursuit, Boris has come to the suspicion that the designs must be somewhere in Volkoff’s favorite retreat. But, unlike Chuck and Sarah, he will use whatever means necessary to get himself on the list. When Boris notices Chuck and Sarah’s desire to get on the list, he decides to use extreme action to prevent that from happening. Boris activates an assassin to covertly eliminate Chuck and Sarah during the ball. Chuck and Sarah become aware of the assassin. They use his presence to their advantage by making Vivian think that the assassin is after her. Despite Vivian’s insistence that she has guards to protect them, Chuck and Sarah swear to protect her themselves and never leave her side. Saving her life or appearing to would help Chuck and Sarah’s chances of getting on the guest list. Chuck and Sarah being in close proximity to Vivian create a wrinkle in Boris’s plan. But Boris has difficulty undoing it when the assassin he hired to eliminate Chuck and Sarah doesn’t stop until the job is done. He doesn’t let Vivian’s guards stand in his way. Chuck, Sarah, and Vivian flee to different parts of the manor. In the end, Chuck and Sarah stop the assassin with some help from Casey and Greta who they pass off to Vivian as their covert bodyguards. Vivian learns from the assassin that Boris hired him. While confused over why he would want her dead, Vivian doesn’t appreciate being targeted by an assassin. So she has Boris delivered to his father to be cruelly dealt with. As a reward for their heroism, Vivian gives Chuck and Sarah the last available spot on the guest list and gives them the time and location of the next flight to the retreat. By the end of the episode, Chuck and Sarah board the plane that will take them to the retreat. They are both blindfolded as a security precaution to keep them from divulging to others what directions to get to where they are going. Vivian is onboard the plane as well, feeling the need for some time away after the attempt on her life. She is accompanied by her female personal assistant who turns out to be an undercover CIA spy. She works for Jane Bentley, the CIA official in charge of the Intersect program and Beckman’s replacement. The CIA suspected the existence of the copied Intersect designs and that they may be located somewhere in the retreat. The spy’s mission is to find and destroy the designs so they won’t fall into enemy hands that includes Chuck and Sarah’s, whose presence interests Bentley.

        The subplot about Devon and Ellie’s stress about handling their crying baby remains the same except Morgan and employees of the computer store are involved. Devon and Ellie also find themselves on the receiving end of eager questions being asked by some of the employees who are very interested in the lives of their spy bosses. Devon and Ellie are treated as celebrities for even knowing them. Morgan fights to keep this level of enthusiasm from spiraling out of control.

      • atcDave says:

        I love the way you handled the ball. That was a lot of fun, and nice set up with a CIA agent in the mix for the next part. Very well done.

      • Justin says:

        What do you think of my version of Vivian?

      • atcDave says:

        Well I like that she’s a little more straightforward in her motivation. You’ll avoid the problem the show had with her switching sides (with insufficient motive).

      • Justin says:

        Sorry for the wait again, atcDave. Had trouble figuring out the ending of this two-parter.

        4×17: The episode opens with Chuck and Sarah landing on the retreat which is located on a remote island. To their surprise, the retreat turns out to be a lovely vacation spot. But its deadly levels of advanced security are hard for them to ignore. So is the danger of running into some old enemies from their time working for the CIA. Chuck and Sarah request the room Frost and Volkoff previously occupied, claiming that it was them who recommended this place to them. Once they have been brought there along with their luggage, Chuck and Sarah begin searching the room for the copied Intersect designs. While doing that, Chuck can’t help himself from imagining what Frost and Volkoff did in this room which makes him feel extremely uncomfortable. The undercover CIA agent posing as Vivian’s personal assistant begins her own search for the designs. She uses a device that is designed to detect the designs’ electronic signature. But she must do her search quietly and carefully with Vivian around. Meanwhile, Casey finds it frustrating that he and Greta must remain in Burbank while Chuck and Sarah are on their own at the retreat. Vivian forbids guests from bringing their own muscle, trusting only her own people to provide security for those residing at the retreat.

        After a thorough search of the room, Chuck and Sarah find the Intersect designs. The CIA spy learns of their discovery. To keep them from leaving the retreat with those designs, the CIA spy brings a serious weak link in their cover story to Vivian’s attention. Finding it too suspicious for her to ignore, Vivian sends guards to apprehend Chuck and Sarah for a private chat on the matter. Chuck and Sarah notice trouble coming their way and quickly put the designs in a new hiding place. While Chuck and Sarah are strictly being questioned by Vivian, the CIA spy uses her detection device to pinpoint the Intersect designs’ new location. She informs Bentley of her success and Bentley informs her of how little time she has left to leave the retreat. It turns out, there is an air strike on its way to permanently put the retreat out of business and eliminate numerous enemies of state in one swoop. The fighter planes are able to locate the retreat because of the microscopic, undetectable tracking device planted on Vivian’s person.

        Vivian’s interrogation of Chuck and Sarah comes to an end when the air strike is detected by radar. The retreat is immediately put on high alert and the process of evacuation is set into motion. Chuck and Sarah use the confusion and panic to make their escape. When they go back to where they last left the copied Intersect designs, they are shocked to find it missing. Chuck and Sarah suspect Vivian’s assistant who is mysteriously nowhere to be found. They race to find her. When they do and find the designs on her, a fight erupts between the two parties. In the midst of the fight, they learn that the assistant is CIA. The fight ends with the Intersect designs appearing to be accidentally destroyed. But, after Chuck and Sarah leave the retreat before the air strike happened and return home, it is discovered that the designs are very much intact. Sarah used her skills as a con artist to trick the CIA spy into thinking the Intersect designs were destroyed. Now Chuck can begin to develop the new Intersect. Meanwhile, Bentley doesn’t like that Chuck and Sarah were close to getting their hands on the Intersect designs. She shares her concern with the CIA Director and asks him how long will it be before Chuck is dealt with for good. The Director assures her that Chuck won’t be a nuisance anymore once the new director of the Intersect project is completed. The Director asks Bentley about the progress of that which she answers by saying that the testing has already begun. At the specialized mental treatment facility, Frost is performing a memory exercise on the computer alongside her fellow patients doing the same thing. But her exercise is interrupted by a mysterious message appearing on the computer screen. The message says HOW ARE THINGS ON YOUR END? Frost subtly checks if anyone else notices what’s on the computer before typing her response to the message: FINE. NO ONE HERE SUSPECTS ANYTHING. The next message she receives says WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN? WHAT ABOUT CHUCK? Frost’s response to the message reads NOT EVEN THEM. THEY THINK I NEED TIME TO MYSELF. IT BUYS US SOME TIME. HOW LONG MUST I WAIT? When Frost receives the next message, it says UNTIL I GET EVERYTHING READY. BE PATIENT. After that last message, the memory exercise abruptly returns to the computer screen. The episode ends with Frost continuing to work on the memory exercise, maintaining the façade of being a cooperative patient.

      • atcDave says:

        Good, exciting mission. I like having the CIA as a rival at an earlier point of the story. Nice cliffie for Mary.

      • Justin says:

        Heads up, atcDave: I’m working on both 4×18 and 4×19 which I’ll be posting together sometime after Christmas.

      • atcDave says:

        Awesome Justin, you know I’ll be excited to see it!

      • Justin says:

        Finally, here it is, atcDave, your late Christmas gift.

        4×18: The episode explores a day in the life of Jane Bentley. She starts her day at home with her loving husband and children. Then she goes off to work, overseeing the Intersect program’s new directive. Some details of that directive come to light when it turns out that Vivian is among the test subjects. While being held separately, Vivian and the others are forced to answer a series of questions. If they don’t answer them, they won’t receive any food or water. The questions are nothing special but the reason for them is which is gradually revealed over the course of the episode. Without their knowledge, Vivian and the other test subjects have been implanted with a new type of Intersect. This Intersect is designed to alter personality and memory. It is based on the brainwashing program Frost went through. That is why the CIA Director took such an interest in Frost’s mental state. The questions Vivian and the other test subjects have been answering are meant to test for any behavioral changes. But, due to the effect of the Intersect in their heads, they are unaware that they’ve been answering the same questions every day. To them, little time has passed since they were taken into custody. The goal of the Intersect program’s new directive is to program enemies of state to be unknowing puppets of the CIA. Through them, the CIA will be able to better protect the country from external threats. Bentley firmly believes in the new directive for the sake of her country and her family. That is why she considers Chuck and his friends such a nuisance. In her eyes, they are obstacles to progress. The episode ends with Bentley returning home, looking upon the faces of her family who remind her of what she is fighting for.

        4×19: It’s been a few weeks since the events of 4×17. Chuck and Ellie have been working together on the new Intersect in the basement of the computer store. But the process hasn’t been without its hiccups which the siblings are trying to minimize. The Intersect they are working on is supposed to enhance memory. It will make ailments like dementia a thing of the past and accelerate a person’s learning capacity. The development of the Intersect is being kept hush-hush among a select few to keep word of it from reaching the CIA. As a part of that precaution, Casey and Greta have been making daily swaps for listening devices. While not knowing what Chuck is creating, the computer store staff has their wild theories of what it may be. Chuck and Sarah’s computer store faces a rival in the form of a neighboring tech store. It recently opened and is being held as the hottest spot for computer tech in the area. Chuck and Sarah find their customer base threatened and must find a way to save it before it’s too late. A comical turf war ensues between the two competing stores. Casey embraces the war as a needed distraction from the anxiety he feels about going on a date with Kathleen. She recently proposed the idea to Casey and Casey accepted it at the time without thought. Now he is freaking out about the date going wrong and hurting Kathleen’s feelings like has in the past. Sarah shares some of her own awkward dating experience with Casey to try to comfort him.

        The turf war between the stores takes a serious turn when a fire breaks out during the tech store’s closing time. The entire store is burned down. When the police investigate the fire, all signs seem to be pointing to Chuck and Sarah’s computer store being involved. The storyline ends with the revelation that the fire was orchestrated by Bentley. Despite the Director’s assurances on the matter, she was tired of sitting on her hands and doing nothing about the Chuck problem. Creating the fire and making it look like Chuck and his people were involved would stir up problems with the law. Bentley hopes these problems would distract Chuck long enough to keep him out of the way of her program succeeding.

        Meanwhile, Frost’s time in the specialized mental treatment facility comes to an end. She’s informed by her mysterious ally via computer that the time is now. During night, the facility’s security systems are shut down one by one through remote access. Frost leaves her room upon seeing the early signs of her escape plan in motion. Any of the facility’s staff who stood in her way she easily disposed of through physical combat. Once she was outside of the facility, a helicopter appears in the sky. It releases a rope for Frost to hold onto. Frost climbs up the rope and gets inside the helicopter as it flies way. Flying the helicopter is none other than General Beckman herself. She is Frost’s mysterious ally. Beckman gives Frost a device to wear around her arm. It is programmed to scramble the signal of Frost’s tracker implant. A scrambled signal will keep the CIA from tracking her down so easily. It took some doing for Beckman to get her hands on such a device. The episode ends with Frost and Beckman on their way to begin a fight against a common enemy: the CIA Director.

      • atcDave says:

        That is still all fun. I like the tech store war, and Frost’s escape.

        And looks like you finished in plenty of time for our next installment in about two weeks!

  2. If you’re referring to the story where Ellie and a bunch of her nurse friends see the footage of Chuck and Sarah in the robbery, I always thought that was complete. There are a lot of stories on that are complete but the author never changed the setting. I’m plowing through the backlist of fanfics there and it does seem like they go from S3 stories straight to the post-finale stories. Kind of hard to tell since the stories are ordered according to the most recent update, not original publication date.
    The S4 version of nine2five is still in motion, although I’m not sure anyone would notice if it stopped. Readership is considerably down there and reviewing even more so, although that may be just a sign of my crappy writing. So many people seem to be happy with S4 as it is that my changes aren’t so popular as they were with S3. But most of the elements you asked for above are in there.
    A glitchy Intersect might have been fun but I think they were trying to downplay that part of the story at this point. It might have worked in season 3, when he was still getting the skills under control, but in S4 Chuck had mastered them, now he was working on all the other aspects of his life.

    • atcDave says:

      Lucifugee certainly stopped at a point where we didn’t “need” anymore, or at least it would have been heading into completer AU territory from there. But yeah, just lacking the complete tag doesn’t “prove” the writer intended more, just that story sort of ended between acts. Perhaps that was the intent.
      Readership is clearly down across the fandom. I think many writers now struggle to find an audience.
      I was only thinking of glitchy Intersect again because it was so poorly done in S3. But what I would have liked seeing is Chuck and Ellie working together to make their father’s invention work best. Presumably Chuck on the tech end and Ellie on the medical. In particular, I would like something that gave Ellie more to do.

      EDIT: I re-read the story, it definitely ends with a “to be continued”. It is still an excellent set-up and an excellent idea, and I recommend reading for that reason alone.
      But it is not finished, and leaves a lot hanging.

      • authorguy says:

        Maybe I can do something with that in my current story. Certainly they had enough problems with the glitches in the previous season, but they weren’t funny ones.

      • atcDave says:

        I was thinking more about the lack of S4 stories too. It really is true that there is much less on the fan fiction front. I think that’s mainly an issue of contentment among viewers. We’ve observed a few times that the two big surges in writing came during S3 or post-finale. There are other crisis points that get extra attention, but none really in S4.
        Which of course does not mean there is nothing from that period. A few writers have explored the engagement period or the Volkoff mission. Things like the CATS and Roan Montgomery are favorite characters. So I think there’s no shortage of S4 characters and themes in fan fiction, its mainly a lack of re-writes that stands out.

      • authorguy says:

        I’m among the few who think there are some serious problems with S4, I guess. It wasn’t until this blog pushed the rewatch that I was able to see them more clearly, especially thanks to BillAtWork, who had many of the same issues I do, I think. Probably one of the reasons I’ve never rewatched past S3 before is the lack of a strong coherent plot to hold it all together, and an overabundance of fluff.

  3. oldresorter says:

    Dave / others – I have a ? about the rules on the FF site. Can famous people be used per the site rules? In the past, I’ve used a couple, but near always in a cameo role. I’m thinking of letting a famous pair of 1930’s real life people have a slightly larger role in an upcoming sequal.

    Also, I complained that my chapter titled ‘Shaw’ goes unread, that I can see the hits avoid it. The numbers are so small now, its ovbvious that 4 or 5 people a month are reading my entire story, while only 1 or 2 read that chapter.

    So, what I did was I changed the chapter name to Orion’s Revenge (which if you recall the scene in the prison, Orion did get revenge in the chapter). For two straight months, that renamed chapter has gotten the same number of views as the chapter before and after it. Small sample size, yadadada, still thought it would interest you Dave.

    Finally, in the same story, I have one chapter that has near 10-20 times the hits that the chapters around it have, instead of 5 it has 50-100. I’m thinking it comes up in a popular google search. For FF writers, my guess is clever titles might get more readers.

    • authorguy says:

      I had a similar experience with an episode called “Morgan’s Angels”. Like Charlie’s Angels, Morgan wasn’t in it much, but just the title put people off.

    • atcDave says:

      I can’t see any reason why famous people would be a problem in an FF story. I’m excited to hear if you’re still thinking about your Long Island Debutant sequel Jason! That was really a well done work, I’d love to see more.

      Very funny about unpopular chapters. I can’t honestly imagine reading a story and skipping just one odd chapter. Very strange. Maybe on a re-read? (I don’t like this chapter, so on to the one after…) But the disparity you’re talking about cannot possibly be from that.
      The Google search terms is funny. We have a couple posts at this site with titles that clearly come up when someone is searching for something completely unrelated to Chuck. We always laugh BTS at the inappropriate search terms that lead some people to this site. There are some very disappointed perverts in this world, and we’re just doing our part…

    • From the website guidelines when you create a new story:

      Entries not allowed:
      3. Stories with non-historical and non-fictional characters: actors, musicians, and etc.

      Sounds like historical characters from the 30s should be ok.

      Stories for shows that are off the air won’t get as much traffic because the reading audience is less interested and because there are fewer writers. More writers brings more readers.

      • atcDave says:

        Those are funny guidelines, I don’t think they’re very closely monitored!

      • No, but I think their removals are based on complaints to the site owners. Every so often there’s a wave of complaints about stories getting removed. I think the most common reasons are:
        – entry title and summary including swear words. They are supposed to be K.
        – MA stories
        – M (or MA) stories improperly classified as T
        – copyright/plagerism
        Since it is based on complaints, these are the areas where people are most likely to complain.

        These seem inconsistently applied:
        – music lyrics (which is also copyright)
        – real-life people
        I’ve read people saying that some are removed, but I see a lot of stories that have them.

        These rules do not seem to be applied (or people don’t complain about them), but the guidelines discourage their widespread use:
        – second person/you based
        – chat/script format and keyboard dialogue based entries. (some of the facebook/chat room ones are really funny)
        – multiple entries of the same material
        – non-stories: like announcements

        If you are logged in, the official guidelines are here:

  4. dkd says:

    The main change I would have made is to have Chuck capitulate to Sarah’s initial request to elope. They would have eloped and had “Chuck vs. The Honeymooners 2” type episode with just them trying to enjoy each other while spy stuff kept intruding.

    I really disliked the focus on planning the wedding. I disliked the idea of turning Sarah from being reluctant about it to someone who was into it. There’s nothing wrong with disliking all the BS that comes with a modern wedding. I find it the opposite of romantic.

    Freed of dealing with the wedding planning, the writers could have come up with any story arc and it would have made me happier.

    • atcDave says:

      Funny. The idea of an elopement and another Honeymooners sort of episode is certainly appealing to me. Although not out of any disatisfaction with what aired. Apart from briefly at the end of “Bank of Evil” I never saw Sarah as getting that in to the process. Maybe in Wedding Planner, but even then, the point of a wedding planner is to avoid that hassle yourself. And in Agent X it looks more like she’s just playing along with Ellie than getting into it herself.
      The only other things I can think of would be a couple of parties (Engagement and Rehearsal), but similar parties could likely occur whether one eloped or not.

      I’m not really a huge fan of the modern over-produced wedding, mainly because it strikes me as foolish to start a married life with a ton of debt. But I have nothing but fond memories of the process working on the big project with my now wife (and we pointedly did not spend money we didn’t have!). Errr, not that I’d ever want to go through it again…
      Which I guess just goes to say, I enjoyed the story they did quite a lot; but I can still imagine different ways of writing it that could have been a lot of fun too. And various fan fiction writers have given us a lot to choose from; from big traditional ceremonies to elopements to Star Wars themed Comic Con weddings. Chuck fans have imagined the big day in a wide and entertaining variety of ways.

      • authorguy says:

        The Star Wars wedding in Chuck and Sarah vs Themselves is a highlight of that story. I usually skip straight to it, and then to the flight chapters.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually my favorite part of that is Ellie finding out about it!

      • authorguy says:

        That’s part of the flight scenario, another favorite part of mine (everything from ‘pineapple’ to the pickles that tasted bad). Her finally being able to come clean with Ellie is such a relief, even if Ellie did blame Chuck for the wedding when he had nothing to do with it. Poor Devon, the only one she could take it out on!

  5. 4.14-4.19 was an easy time for fun short stories. Other than having Chuck and Sarah engaged, there are not any arc constraints. I have four stories set during this time. Chuck and Sarah vs the Niece, Bridezilla vs the Extreme Wedding, Castle vs the Law of Averages, and I Wish This Never Happened.

    • atcDave says:

      I was definitely planning on mentioning Bridezilla with the next batch I do (getting to the actual wedding!).
      But I do wish I’d done the Castle crossover here (along with Pacifier by mia2009) those seem more fitting of the earlier batch than the later ones. My bad.
      I completely forgot Niece. My next post on this topic will be much longer!

  6. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs Muuurder (4.19) | Chuck This

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