Chuck vs The Last Details (4.23)

As Chuck, Sarah, and the extended family are hoping to enjoy the last few days before the big wedding; Mary gets captured by Vivian and sets off a final sequence of events prior to the big day and season finale.

After the jump, we’ll discuss this late Season Four episode.

I think its safe to call Last Details a strong episode.  The usual blend of elements that make Chuck great are all on display here; with a good adventure, lots of laughs, character interactions about perfect, and a frightening cliffhanger.

I find it amusing that right from the start Mary looks like a poor agent again.  I don’t want to belabor that too much, the set-up, and story are a lot of fun here.  Apparently, Frost has decided taking care of Chuck and Sarah’s failures would make a good wedding present, but she accomplishes the opposite.  By getting captured she forces a last minute rescue mission.  But that’s just fine, as the mission is a great adventure.  With a disgusting meat platter (and I love the cut to Riley complaining about the local food a little later), a Star Wars inspired rescue mission (with Sarah missing the joke), a security guard with a twisted sense of romance (and Chuck defending Sarah’s honor), a call back to T2 with Linda Hamilton doing pull-ups on her cot frame, and just a dynamite confrontation between Sarah and Mary.  The last part alone would have made it all worthwhile, but all told, this mission is a very entertaining 10 minutes.

Back home we see Chuck finally choose wisely between Sarah and his mom.  But now I need to back up a step.  Casey had earlier promised Alex he would protect Morgan.  Unfortunately, Casey has a less comforting protective instinct than Agent Walker, and Morgan is quickly feeling severely underappreciated.  Is it surprising that Casey’s idea of protecting involves insults and snarky comments?  Naturally, Morgan will be needed on the next part of the mission.  He will need to play an Italian arms dealer, with the worst possible accent, much to Casey’s extreme annoyance.

All too soon, the team is off to Moscow.  And once again I must point out the sort of outrageous factual oversight that can shatter any suspension of disbelief; we get stock footage of an Air Alaska DC-9 for the flight.  Well gee, the DC-9 is a short to medium range airliner, not used on long International flights, Air Alaska does not fly to Moscow (they fly to Asian Russia, but not European Russia), and Air Alaska retired their last DC-9 series aircraft (MD80s) in 2005. Geez.  Watching television can be trying…

The Moscow mission is also much fun.  Highlights being Chuck preparing Morgan with the Imperial March; Casey and Mary bonding over the trials of protecting their adult kids; Morgan playing tough by ordering a puppy shot; a really clueless MI6 agent who gets shot for his stupidity; and Casey shooting blind through…   blinds…   to rescue Morgan.  This show is so much fun.

The mission ends with Chuck and Sarah stopping the baddies, Sarah saving Chuck, and sadly, another bit of annoying whining by Vivian.

The “B” plot this time was sort of a moving target.  I guess we could say it was Chuck’s desire to make a video for Sarah.  But it passed through Morgan, Lester, Jeff, (Big Mike), and Ellie before we arrive at the rehearsal dinner.  But this leads to a really terrific end scene. Terrific on a couple levels.  We get a great gathering of the whole cast, Mary’s heartfelt appreciation of Sarah, a really sweet video, Ellie’s brief panic and newfound appreciation of Jeff; and then the final terrible cliffhanger.

Interesting thing about our favorite show, we’ve seen a few really well done penultimate episodes.  Last Details follows that pattern nicely.  It certainly made for an exciting week before the finale!

~ Dave

The Good, The Bad And The Volkoff

Aaarrrggg!!! Once again, Dave has told you about all the good stuff! That’s it. What is my dueling pistol?
[Huff – huff!]

Barstow? Paris? No. Echo Park!

Barstow? Paris? No. Echo Park!

Oh, wait. No he didn’t. No need to get Dave up before dawn – this time… Here’s another smidgen of good stuff. Seeing Chuck and Sarah wake up together in the golden sunlight is always something special. But unlike the other places we’ve seen that golden morning light, Barstow and Paris, people are taking great pains to leave them be this time so that they can actually enjoy the serenity.

Sarah: Good morning. You know what we have to do today?
Chuck: Mm… Hunt someone?
Sarah: No.
Chuck: Blow something up?
Sarah: No again.
Chuck: Mm – crawl through sewers or rat holes or underground lairs filled with sewage and/or rats?
Sarah: No, no and no. Today we have a day off from the CIA. Today is about you and me and our wedding.
Chuck: God, that’s good.

Oh yeah, it is. But you knew it couldn’t last. Leave it to Morgan to pull a Morgan. In this show, something must always happen to delay inevitable; it’s the law. Of course, Chuck and Sarah getting married was inevitable too, as was their finding each other, becoming intimate, getting engaged and learning to live together despite all the quirkiness, each step followed by the next in (modern) succession. So why did I feel so much apprehension and why was my confidence in their inevitability so shaky?

When there’s a doubt in your mind
‘Cause you think it all the time
Framin’ rights into wrongs
Move along Move along
When there’s a doubt within your mind

But enough of that for now. Have we ever played the game of finding all the movie references? I don’t think we have, and I have a suspicion that we’d never get them all. Everyone gets the obvious Star Wars references in Chuck vs. The Last Details, except Sarah, of course.

Yum. Chewie.

Yum. Chewie.


Chuck: Move it along, Chewy.
Sarah: Chewie? Why are you calling him Chewie? He didn’t even eat anything off that disgusting platter.
Chuck: Honey, it’s a reference to Star… Oh, I love you!

Zing! Darth Vader’s theme, The Imperial March, didn’t quite make it into my mp3 player, but that’s only because John William’s music is so familiar that it’s already everywhere from the Sunday morning news shows to the Olympics.

More than I can do!

More than I can do!

Almost as obvious a reference was Linda Hamilton, who’s two years younger than I am (that’s right. She’s 29, same age as Mrs. Joe), doing pull-ups on an upturned cot in a cell. [Hey wait! Can she really do more pull-ups than I can these days? I’ve to check on that!] It’s a movie reference we all get.

But I’m going to add that Morgan is spoofing The Godfather with his miserable Italian accent, but mostly spoofing it with his suit. My fav. though, is even more subtle. The scene with Casey shooting blind, using Morgan’s spy-glasses to locate his target, is straight out of the third book of the Dune trilogy and the Dune movies in their various incarnations. Well, okay. That one was a TV movie, but I like the reference. And it takes a great show like Chuck to get me to even think about that much over-rated, interminable series of books without spitting over my left shoulder.

Like usual, much fun is to be had. What weighs most on my mind, though, when all is said and done, is the interaction between soon to be mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, and how Chuck is caught in the middle. Guys, raise your hand if you haven’t been there, or are at least inexperienced in trying to find the common ground between two strong women. I count – gee! Very few.

Mary does not come off well in this episode. She’s stubborn, a bit arrogant and very much single-minded throughout. It’s like she’s got blinkers on about the mission into which she’s inserted herself and the act of considering Chuck and Sarah is an intrusion.

Well, it’s true! Mary becomes Frost once again, and Frost is not a lovable character. But one thing you can’t say is that this is OOC for her. Like it or not, it’s totally in keeping and totally in sync with her daily, ongoing judgment that staying away from her family was the best possible thing she could do.

Interesting choice, Chuck.

Interesting choice, Chuck.

Sarah judges otherwise, of course. And that in itself is quite an audacious thing for this young upstart spy to do, you know. So who does Chuck side with?

Casey: Interesting choice. Choosing your mom over your fiancée.
Chuck: Oh, com’mon. I was just trying to make everyone feel — Wait a minute. Is that really how it looked?
Casey: Yeah. Just remember, Bartowski. Sarah is the one you’re gonna be sleeping next to at the end of every day. She’s the one you protect.

That’s good advice. Chuck follows it at the next available opportunity and not a moment too soon. I guess that too was one of the hurdles Chuck had to face before marriage. It would be silly if it wasn’t so true to life.

Casey: You can wait in the van if you want.
Mary: No, it’s all right. I think I’ll give Chuck and Sarah a little space on this one. It’s hard to have kids. Can’t always protect them.
Casey: Yeah. Or their idiot boyfriends.

No more mama’s boy. That little conflict was indeed, the last detail, the last thing Chuck had to do before committing everything to Sarah.

Jeff comes through

Jeff comes through

There’s nothing left standing between Chuck and Sarah, then. Mary gives a near-amazing toast to her about-to-be daughter-in-law and Jeff comes through with a video the way only Jeff can.

There’s nothing left to go wrong, except neither Dave nor I have mentioned the one last piece of rotten fruit at the bottom of the basket. No, it’s not Vivian. Even if she’s a tremendously capable, intelligent and resourceful woman, Vivian is still just a poor, misguided girl driven to vengeance by a poorly chosen adviser.

Nothing can go wrong, except - everything.

Nothing can go wrong, except – everything.


Chuck: Mom, it’s time to go.
Vivian: Mom? The woman who betrayed my father is the mother of the man who betrayed me? Oh, that makes sense.

What’s gone wrong is 30 years of history. Now Vivian has a vendetta to organize against the entire Bartowski family, and she has just the right weapon to do it with, too.

Oh, move slow.
Oh, move slow.
Everything falls apart after you go.

– 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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62 Responses to Chuck vs The Last Details (4.23)

  1. mr2686 says:

    How good was season 4? Well, The Last Details was, to me, a near perfect episode, yet in my book it’s only the 6th best of the season. That’s saying something. Off subject, as I write this the actor that played Uri The Gobbler is on my tv in a new AFLAC commercial. Too funny.
    Anyway, there’s a lot of fun stuff in this episode, most of which has been covered, but the video montage of Chuck and Sarah created by Jeff was truly a sweet moment, and the interaction between many of the main characters is as strong in this episode as in any other in the series.
    This part of season 4 is always a little bittersweet for me, since the last few episodes are so darn good, yet it’s makes me a little sad that we’re turning the corner to the end of the series. It’s especially sad knowing that were just around the corner from the 2 year anniversary of the end of the series.

    • atcDave says:

      MR I was just thinking along much the same lines about the approaching end. I run a bit ahead of you guys, so I can write these posts, and I just finished Cliffhanger tonight. It left me more than a little sad thinking about how close we are to the end.

    • joe says:

      I saw that commercial, with Matt Willig (Yuri/Uri) and the actor who played Phil Leotardo in The Sopranos, Frank Vincent! Much fun.

      I share your sentiments about S4, Mr. To me, the amazing thing is that we got to this point. I mean, they knew early on that S4 was going to have 24 episodes and that S5 was coming (I recall that they knew it was going to be 13 episodes). So they were given the chance to tell us the rest of the story the way they wanted and the path they chose was gratifying.

      I suspect that the certainty was both a gift and a curse, though. S4 told me that C&S were always going to get together. The only question was when.

      To me, the surprise was Chuck and Sarah got together before the end.

  2. anthropocene says:

    Dave, I see your (admittedly valid) issue with the DC-9, and raise it with mine about a weapon that can cleanly teleport a (possibly) radioactive poison directly into a specific person’s body (targeting his/her DNA???) from the other side of the world. I know this is “Chuck” and the suspension of reality started with the Pilot, but for me the Norseman was the show’s “invisible car” (to mix a Bond movie ref with all the Star Wars refs).

    Having gotten that off my chest, I also have to say that the idea of the Norseman made that last minute of this episode into what I would consider one of the two or three most dark and emotionally intense Chuck/Sarah scenes in the entire series. Chuck’s consuming moment of horror encompassed his shock at learning Sarah was the one targeted, and his seeming certainty (based on prior experience) that Sarah was dying right there in his arms. Zach Levi acted it out so well. Even though my head told me that Sarah wouldn’t die, I physically felt his cries of agony.

    • atcDave says:

      You know Anthro, to me, the real issue with the DC-9 is exactly the same as the Norseman. We seem to hear from so many viewers who struggle with finding the logic or truth in every scene; and yet its a show about a guy with a computer in his head. We need to let go pure “realism” and enjoy the story. Now don’t get me wrong, there were a few things that pushed past what I was willing to accept (cough*S3*cough), but I think there’s always a certain level of disbelief we need to let go of and just enjoy the story. To me, that mainly means the characters; as long as I can believe characters are being true I can accept a computer in the head, a radiation gun that can kill a specific person from half a world away, and even Air Alaska flying DC-9s from LA to Moscow in 2010.
      As long as I recognize Chuck and Sarah, and the story entertains, the rest is just details.

      This may have been my favorite horrifying moment of the series. I could feel Chuck’s panic, and this is the sort of drama that makes me eager for a resolution (unlike say, another iteration of love triangles that mostly make me want to throw a brick… at my TV or the show runner…).
      Not only was Zach’s performance pretty awesome here, Yvonne as sick Sarah is pretty amazing next week too. Really a terrific, terrible moment all around.

      • anthropocene says:

        I’m with you on both points, Dave. I enjoyed the story so much that it wasn’t much of an effort to suspend incredulity. “Terrific, terrible moment” is perfect. I find myself drawn back to that last scene from time to time.

    • resaw says:

      Before I write anything about anything else, let me take this opportunity to tell everyone here to go to the Chuck fanfiction pages and read Anthropocene’s latest installment of Chuck Versus Route 66. It is an outstanding chapter. And if you haven’t read any of the other episodes of his hypothetical season 6, please do so. You will not be disappointed!

  3. revdr says:

    I also agree with you Dave. Being true to the characters is what I think brought most of us back from season to season, episode to episode (even the S3 misery). But I can also understand those who wanted to make some sense of it all. For me, I needed to base the show in some kind of reality with fairytale undertones. As to being eager in wanting a resolution to the situation I’m right there with you as well. That’s why I tend to count season 4 as the true end of the series, because we got some sort of closure with the next episode and a true ending that we could accept (a happy ending) and we really weren’t given that in season 5 (at least I wasn’t). Last Details gave us everything we always wanted from a Chuck story: romance, conflict, humor, character insight (not just from the principles- go Jeff!!!) and so much more. It was fun from beginning to end.

    • atcDave says:

      I’ll mention this again next week, but I would agree with saying Cliffhanger was the most completely acceptable episode, as a finale, of the entire series. I’m mostly pleased with S5, but I’ll always wish they’d gone out on a completely joyful note like S4 did!

  4. Wilf says:

    Thanks guys. Yes, it really was a fun episode from beginning to (almost) end. There was also enough Sarah-time in it to keep me happy, whereas Cliffhanger really lacked that, in my view. And I concur with revdr about Season 4 giving the right kind of closure for the series, as compared with season 5 which did not really.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Wilf, I’ll also touch that again next week too. Cliffhanger has a few deficiencies as an episode (not enough Sarah), but it works well as a finale.

  5. resaw says:

    Dave and Anthro were talking about some of the, shall we say, infelicitous choices made in the story. Unlikely choices in aircraft and scientifically impossible deadly devices. Being involved in neither the aircraft industry or in science, neither one of these items caught my attention. However, I was surprised to hear that Riley knew that Volkoff was Winterbottom. I can see how it was used to by Riley to upset Vivian even more, and to turn her more toward her evil destiny (as Riley would have it), but it seems like he really knew this to be true. He knew that Stephen Bartowski was the scientist who inadvertently turned Winterbottom into Volkoff as well. How could he have known? From following Chuck, Sarah and Casey to the Winterbottom family home as he did in the previous episode? There is no suggestion of Riley’s knowledge in the story at that point, as I recall. If he knew from the very beginning, as Volkoff’s legal counsel, of Volkoff’s origins as Winterbottom, how could he have known if not from Volkoff himself? Yet Volkoff certainly has not shown any conscious awareness of his past as Winterbottom. Of course, Riley is fundamentally evil (reinforced by his cold-blooded test of the Norseman device on the scientist who rebuilt it at the top of the episode), but Winterbottom’s mother understood immediately that the Bartowskis were good people. It’s too bad that Vivian was so easily swayed by Riley, but then the writers would have had to come up with some other enemy.

    Whew. Glad I got that off my chest.

    I agree with all that was said above about how intense and emotionally engaging the final moments of this episode are.

    Thanks, as always, for the discussion.

    • atcDave says:

      Some very good points Resaw. I think how easily Vivian was swayed by Riley is a big part of why I have so little respect for her as a villain, she’s almost more pathetic than frightening. Perhaps that was the intent, but as I’ve mentioned a few times, I would have done things a little different if I were calling shots. Its not a huge thing, but Vivian fails to inspire.
      Very interesting thoughts on when Riley knew. He seemed to suggest he knew all along, but as you point out, Volkoff himself didn’t seem to so its unlikely he learned that way. Perhaps it was simply something he dug up along the way as an overly involved legal counsel. Maybe he learned through Vivian’s mom (?) or something involving legal or property rights in England. Or maybe he just learned the week before when he found himself in possession of the debris of the Winterbottom family home!
      Anyone else have any thoughts? maybe we missed something within the show itself?

    • anthropocene says:

      Interesting. If Riley wasn’t in on the conspiracy and had possession of one of the CIA’s most zealously guarded secrets for a while, one wonders why Decker wasn’t sent to eliminate him long before Chuck and Sarah learned the identity of Agent X.

      • revdr says:

        Since Decker turned out to be nothing more than another pawn (of Shaw’s), it would seem that it was all part of the larger overall plan. Hartley was just a scientist, so someone had to have been with him from the start of the Agent X mission. Question is, what was the original mission?

      • atcDave says:

        Its kind of funny how doomed Riley was. If Sarah hadn’t killed him, Decker would have. Those are two people I wouldn’t want to cross.

    • Joe says:

      Resaw, Riley knowing so much about Volkoff bugged me too the first time around. I sort of minimized it in my mind, I think, because Riley takes his leave of the stage so quickly.

      But it’s a good point about him knowing things because Volkoff himself told him. That works for me. The machine essentially took over the man, had complete control over who knew his history and no fear of making a mistake either (after all, it beat the computer in a machine-like manner, right?). Telling Riley about Hartley and Stephen was a calculated risk, but one the early intersect knew it wanted to take.

      • atcDave says:

        The “took over the man” part gets me thinking. Maybe Volkoff/Hartley wasn’t so lost in the role early on. Maybe he told Riley many years ago, and only later forgot completely what he once was.

      • Joe says:

        Hum! Hadn’t thought about it that way, Dave. i always thought that Volkoff was a sudden and complete break that shocked Stephen. But having the Intersect take over Hartley more slowly certainly isn’t contradicted in the canon. That could work.

        I’ll bet it would make for a great prequel story too! Chuck, episode I, The Phantom Intersect! 😉

        [BTW – I meant to say above that Volkoff beat the computer at chess in a machine-like manner. Reads better that way.]

  6. revdr says:

    Could it be that, as we were told about (again, beginning in Cliffhanger) that Riley was part of the larger so-called conspiracy that included Decker? Agent X was a CIA op so it stands to reason that someone had to have been in with Hartley since Mary didn’t get involved until the program malfunctioned. He could been rouge CIA or some other more covert branch. Just a thought.

    • Joe says:

      Man, I would have loved to have seen that line expanded, Revdr. I’ll put it off until we get there, but for my money, the biggest missed opportunity for a better story was the way Decker mini-arc was mishandled.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree with that Joe. Definitely would have been interesting to have Riley tie back in to Decker and a big conspiracy.

      • thinkling says:

        Absolutely. They really dropped the ball on the conspiracy Decker alluded to. That is probably my biggest disappointment with S5, much more so than the finale. In my mind Riley was probably a part of that … an inside man in the machinations of VI … a puppet of the very rogue and evil Puppet Master controlling the conspiracy from within the CIA.

  7. thinkling says:

    Agree with all that Last Details is a great episode … another that showcases Chucks ability to span a very broad range of entertainment in a single episode.

    There are so many things to praise. I’ll mention a couple and focus on one.

    Shoot the puppy has to be one of Morgans funniest lines … spoken into his lime green phone, too. So funny.

    The rehearsal dinner itself contained the best and worst of the episode. By the worst I mean the roving waiter with a camera strapped to his back. Sorry, but the artsy filming of the first part of the rehearsal dinner was so annoying … to me (kind of like the scene in Aisle of Terror with Sarah taking apart the device). Many great shots were chopped off or missed altogether.

    The best would be just about everything else, from Morgans tennis injury to the general wonderfulness of Bartowski parties, to Chuck and Sarah’s dance and loving gestures, and of course Jeff’s video. Jeff (in his less creepy, better moments) has always played the romantic to Lester’s cynic … which is why the s cured Jeff is so believable and wonderful. (Never thought I’d use Jeff and wonderful in the same sentence.)

    I loved Mary’s toast to Sarah. For those who don’t like anything about Mary, this may not have been a highlight, but for me it was brilliant on several levels.

    First, it had such an entertaining double meaning. The guest could imagine all sorts of normal things alluded to by the toast … absolutely none of which were anywhere near the truth.

    Second, it highlighted Sarah’s strengths, which was particularly satisfying coming from Mary. Mary has been the beneficiary of Sarah’s forgiveness, not just in the past 48 hours, but all along. In fact, apart from Sarah’s capacity to understand and forgive, Mary would still be away … in Russia. It takes a strong amazing woman to do what Sarah did for Mary, and it’s wonderful to see Mary acknowledge it.

    And of course her thank you for taking care of Chuck is great. I can only imagine that not one guest thinks that’s code for thank you for shooting Riley in the head and saving my son.

    This of course closes a circle on their bond. From the moment Mary handed Sarah a way out from Orion’s base, with the whispered words, Protect him, these two women have shared a growing bond, rooted in a shared love for Chuck and deepened through a unique kinship, a shared mission, and a battle for survival. The heart of their bond is their fierce determination to protect Chuck.

    And that’s the heart of this episode: protecting the ones you love. Casey protected Morgan, because he loves Alex. Chuck learned new ways that Sarah needed his protection. And Mary and Sarah quarreled over the best way to protect Chuck. At the end of the day, when Mary couldn’t protect him, Sarah was there to pull the trigger. That was just a great way to settle the issue and end the tension.

    And then the awful, terrific, terrible moment. The protector becomes the protectee, and all the family — all those she has so fiercely protected — will rally to protect her.

    What an episode.

    • atcDave says:

      Well put as always. I love how Jeff comes across so well at the end, it’s almost funnier for not being so funny.
      I do love how Sarah has completely won over Mary. Although really, it’s Sarah accepting Mary that may be the bigger deal. But it finally paints Mary very nicely to have her embrace Sarah as she does.

    • noblz says:


      Well said, but there’s some other stuff that I’d point out.

      Sarah’s open pride in Cuck in the opening is great. I also was greatly entertained by the three way conflict between Sarah-Chuck-Mary which was a hoot and Chuck resolving it in Sarah’s favor and Mary’s grudging acceptance was funny and it grew to full acceptance by the time of the dinner.

      Vivian again was barely adequate as a villain, but really, Riley was the villain all along…hmmm.

      And too much Morgan for me. I was barely tolerating him by this point and the time spent on him was lost time…to me.

      Otherwise I’m with Thinkling on the rest.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Noblz, the beginning was great. In hindsight, we know that they had gotten rid of the jitters 6 days earlier with their practice vows. So, this was going to be a perfect day … nothing could go wrong. Right.

        It was, in large part, a Sarah/Mary episode … with Chuck caught in the middle. Their relationship has been fun from the first (holding each other at gunpoint) to the whole spy bonding thing to the final toast. There is just so much more to their relationship than the typical mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship.

        This episode led them over the last in-law hurdles, and gave us some great entertainment: namely the spy version of a mother letting go and trusting her daughter-in-law with her son. Looking at that layer makes Last Details even funnier.

    • joe says:

      And then the awful, terrific, terrible moment.

      Perfect! Oh yeah, you have a way with words, Thinkling.

  8. noblz says:

    As an aside, did anyone watch the premiere of “Intelligence”?

    A heavy, dramatic version of Chuck. Guy with Genetic anomaly has chip in brain to access the GiG (even the “flashes” look similar-ish). Has a good looking Secret Service agent assigned as protector/partner.

    Except that it is decidedly serious and dramatic, the set-up is Chuck all over. Even the head-woman is a redhead.

    Still withholding judgment on whether it gets good or not, but they already have a second person with an enhanced “chip”. Oh, boy!

    • joe says:

      I meant to bring this up myself, Noblz. Yeah, there were tonnes of similarities, but ultimately, I wasn’t too impressed. Cross Chuck with Jason Borne, subtract out the humor and that’s pretty much what I saw.

      I can’t say I noticed any particular chemistry between the leads, though. Since Intelligence is going to be shown across from Castle, I think I’m going to give this one a miss.

      Oooh – I have to add. I really flashed back to Chuck’s pilot when the main character was escaping at the beginning. I couldn’t help but think, at that point, that we might have seen something like this has Bryce Larkin gotten the Intersect.

      • noblz says:


        DVR is a wonderful thing. I’ll give it a while, just in case.

      • Chuck with the humor or the heart.

        I still thought it might be worth a few weeks. Some shows take a while to get their feet under them (e.g. Farscape, Star Trek TNG, B5, and maybe Agents of SHIELD). However, I was annoyed at the end when I found out it would be opposite Castle and The Blacklist (my #1 and #4 active shows right now). I can get all of them on demand, but I’m not sure Intelligence is worth the bother, because I don’t see it ever being as good as either of those.

        Ratings were probably good because it was after NCIS. The Blacklist benefits from The Voice as a lead-in. Castle’s demo isn’t as good but the overall viewers are higher. I’m guessing a three-ways split with Intelligence eventually dropping to the bottom. Monday is a tough night.

      • anthropocene says:

        Definitely a CBS-flavored show. There were a few tech upgrades, too, and some kind of intriguing, like locating your targets in a shootout using imagery from an orbiting IR satellite (not that IR penetrates metal roofs or anything like that). But I suspect they’ll soon empty their bag of tricks if the plot depends too heavily on this stuff. One memorable line: “Don’t worry, he can’t print,” but that came from a character who might already be gone.

      • mr2686 says:

        I’m not going to judge this one until it has a few episodes under it’s belt. I thought the chemistry on Chuck got much better after a few episodes, and I suspect that might be the case with this one. Josh Holloway can deliver a quip as good as anyone, so I’m hoping they’ll play up a bit to that strength. Since I DVR both Castle and Blacklist, I’ll have to get this one on demand, but I suspect that they’ll have to move it to another night to get the most out of it. I’m thinking Sunday…maybe move the Mentalist an hour earlier and put this one as the trailing show.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I’m with Joe. Forced myself to watch the premier. Zero interest in following it going forward.

  9. revdr says:

    I kind of considered it Chuck on steroids. Josh Holloway handles his role well. And, there is already several good side stories in place. I too am withholding judgment but the show apparently did well in the overnight ratings.

  10. mr2686 says:

    Did anyone see that Tricia Helfer (Agent Forrest from vs Broken Heart) has her own show that started last week (Killer Women)? Haven’t seen it yet but have it on the DVR.

    • Duckman says:

      I plan on giving this a try as well. Hadn’t made the chuck connection, that should add a little interest for me. I always thought Chuck rolled over to easy to forest, Should have told the cia to pound sand.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Watched it. It has potential, but I found parts of it unorigional and overly-trope-ish. It was however (in my opinion) better than Intelligence.

      • mr2686 says:

        I came to the conclusion awhile back that there’s not a lot of original stuff left to put on tv. Oh sure, you might find a tid bit of an idea here and there that is the center of a story, but they usually surround it with the same old story lines. I’ve just accepted the fact that although some of these shows are similar, I’ll just enjoy the difference in characters and their interaction. It works for me.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I mostly agree MR. As long as a show is mostly well executed and fun, it’s okay if it’s not terribly original. If it can surprise me or keep me guessing on occasion, pure bonus.
        I find likable/admirable characters matter more to me than pure creativity. And actually, on current television, likable/admirable characters are even more uncommon than creativity!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yes, agreed, TV is TV… But, then you see shows like Chuck, or Community, or Parks & Rec. or Sleepy Hollow, that while they can frustrate on so many levels can reach heights that Intelligence or NCIS or the other CBS ratings monsters never will.

        It’s tough to not be discouraged that so many settle for inoffensive or good enough rather than ask for something better.

        But then, most aren’t looking for more than a pleasant distraction, so I suppose it shouldn’t upset me.

      • atcDave says:

        Yes, I prefer pleasant distraction.

        Okay, not wholly true, but pleasant does matter more to me than clever. Ideally, I want both. But I am far more angry over the dark and cynical programming that dominates network and cable schedules than I am over formulaic writing.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, I’m not a fan of dark and cynical. Appealing, admirable characters that grow and interact well are the most important thing. A good story thrown in on top of it all, and I’m happy.

        And speaking of nothing new: After someone here mentioning Elementary, I started watching. I like it, which I didn’t really think I would. The ninety lives of Sherlock Holmes boggles the mind. It’s interesting to me to see how many, many interpretations there are of this classic character. The show hits all the aforementioned sweet spots. (And it’s sometimes nice to have a show with no romance to fret over 😉 )

      • Ernie Davis says:

        OK, but I would never consider Chuck, or Community, or Sleepy Hollow or Parks and Rec dark and cynical (acknowledged, tolerances differ, but at it’s darkest Chuck was never close to Sopranos or Wire territory).

        I suppose I just wish there were more space to depart from the oh so predictable tropes that are trotted out regularly as if they are somehow supposed to humanize or add depth to one dimensional characters.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Thinkling, I’ll just say this. Sarah Walker was often unappealing and/or unadmirable early on for many of us.

        Appealing, admirable, I’m not opposed, but you can’t beat a good redemption story in my book.

      • thinkling says:

        Ernie, I’m sorry if it sounded like I was singling out specific shows as dark. As for those you mentioned, I would agree (though I haven’t seen all of them). I was speaking in generalities.

      • thinkling says:

        I can see that, Ernie, and you know I love the redemption aspect of Chuck. Sarah did have some unappealing moments (Crown Vic). But she also had admirable qualities from the beginning. Her growth throughout the show was stunning. All the characters grew (well most of them) and made me want to root for them. It’s part of the appeal and charm of the show.

        The growth element is missing in many shows, sit-coms and dramas alike, and I lose interest. I dropped House for it’s lack of character growth and formulaic episodes.

        Chuck is just hard to beat for character growth.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        No offense intended or taken, I just meant that I find un-conflicted characters with little to overcome boring for the most part. Intelligence is a prime example. The main character is a super-hero. His conflicts consist of not being allowed to sufficiently prove his super-hero-ness.

        He is “humanized” by having a super-hero wife who we are told may be flawed, but are immediately told is not. Mystery over. Conflict over.

        His handler (oh please, so many tropes) is a woman with a past, but we are immediately told that past was one where she was forced to “take on the man” and honorably solve a problem “the man” couldn’t and would thus punish her for resolving.

        And you know what, as I write I’m actually losing the will to spell out how pedestrian and boring I find this stuff. Even the uber-fluffy Chuck gave Fulcrum a moderately edgy MO and some moral ambiguity and conflict and drama (in it’s own way) while keeping good guys and bad guys clear.

      • atcDave says:

        To be fair, I have not watched Intelligence. I found Chuck and Sarah both admirable; not flawed so much as imature in those first two seasons. I do like that the characters grew, but the bottoming out process of S3 went too far. Chuck DID stray way too far into dark for my taste in S3, the characters who mattered behaved foolishly in ways that led me to loose interest in their story. It didn’t make it to the point I couldn’t get my affection back, but I absolutely would have quit if I had thought that was a permanent change in style.
        By comparison, currently in Person of Interest, Reese is in a low place, some might call a dark place; BUT, he has not behaved in a way that would lead me to loose respect for him. So his redemption is something I look forward to seeing. Again though, if it is drawn out more than another couple episodes I will start to loose interest.
        The version of Holmes on Elementary is obviously also quite damaged, but again, not in a way I loose any respect for him. Well, he is a jerk. Its a good thing Watson is more admirable or I would have a hard time watching.
        Sleepy Hollow is pushing my limits. I will likely quit soon. I like both main characters, but the story is too unrelentingly dark for my taste.

        I did not watch Intelligence because simply, apart from the obvious Chuck similarities, it just looked boring. I need humor, and action, to really enjoy a show. And I currently have a pretty full schedule, so I’m less likely to take a chance on a show that looks pretty marginal to me in previews.

      • thinkling says:

        Holmes walks close to that line a lot of the time, sometimes stepping over it. But there is significant growth and humanization. Watson has other things to overcome. It’s similar to Chuck, in that the leads help each other overcome their pasts and challenges.

      • joe says:

        I haven’t said this in a while but… great discussion, guys.
        I can’t say I disagree much with any of the characterizations made about those shows. Except maybe, Thinkling, you really think there’s no romance brewing in Elementary? Really? Oddly, I almost stopped watching that show because of the lack of chemistry between Holmes and Watson (or really, between Miller and Liu). But I’ve really become a fan because of the way they’ve played their relationship. Like it a lot.

        I’ve stopped watching Sleepy Hollow, though. I couldn’t shake the feeling that they were forcing some personal politics down my throat. Odd, I know, but please don’t ask me to explain. It’s just a feeling.

        I’m going to miss Carter in POI, but two characters are absolutely saving the show for me; Fusco and Bear. Gotta have more Bear.

        Ernie, I find it interesting that, as I’ve become more attentive to the shows I’m watching – thanks to Chuck, I too have seen too many similarities in the plot lines. Oddly, Castle, seems to be one of the worst offenders. I see plots there that I saw in Chuck and in Monk. But I have a feeling that if I had ever seen McGuyver, I’d recognize a few more plot-lifts. Still love the show though, because…

        For me, it’s not so much a problem anymore so long as I really like the characters. I think that’s why I’ll still watch an ancient Andy Griffith for the umteenth time and enjoy it, but pass by a Law and Order episode. Wood talking to wood.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I would admit I’m less sure about no romance on Elementary now than I was in the past. The friendship is getting pretty warm and fuzzy. But they will need to tread carefully, at this point I don’t really WANT to see more between them.

        Excellent points about Andy Griffith vs Law and Order. That sums up some of what we were discussing a couple weeks ago; liking the characters matters more to me than any issue of story. I do appreciate when a story seems fresh or creative to me, but liking and respecting the characters will always matter more. And I didn’t mean to sound anti-redemption, I love a good redemption story. But so many shows celebrate the wallowing in the mud part. Even if a character will find redemption in the end, I won’t watch if most of the show is about the down and out phase. I find the redeemed character vastly more interesting than the character who is still broken. (Gee, much like I find a couple building a future together more interesting than the wt/wt phase!)

      • joe says:

        Yeah, I can understand that, Dave. The wallowing part is not watchable for me either without the redemption. And the path taken has to justify it too. I suspect I’ve actually stopped watching more shows because the journey was not worth the trip than for any other reason.

        About Holmes and Watson, so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised that they have been treading very carefully. I’ve come to appreciate that in the show. Funnily enough, although I too didn’t need or want them to get any closer than they have, they’re on the verge of making me wonder about that.

        That’s not the reaction I had to Chuck and Sarah, of course. For them I had to force myself to not want them to rush through things.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah Joe, for Chuck and Sarah I was positive at “Tango” they would end up married if the show ran long enough. Of course it was mostly a delight to watch; but that early affection always made the distractions (mainly triangles!) seem like an utter waste of time.

      • thinkling says:

        Joe and Dave, we’re on the same TV page, so to speak. Not too much of a shock, I know. With Elementary, I definitely see growing relationship, just not necessarily a romantic one. I’m with Dave in that I really don’t want it to go there. The friendship seems perfect (and appropriate for the H/W model). At times it’s unexpectedly sweet, and she has definitely changed him, as he has her. Anything in the romantic vein would have to be far into the future.

        Chuck and Sarah, definitely a go at Tango. Maybe even at the ballerina and the first date, but for sure by Tango.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Thinkling they did set the tone for a sweet romance right from the ballerina. I guess Tango surprised me though when it first ran at how fast a pace it seemed to be setting. Of course I would later decide they often didn’t move fast enough! But that was when I knew it was “on”.

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