This is among my favorite periods of the show. Chuck and Sarah are happy together and we have a good run of exciting and fun episodes; including my favorite finale of the series. So “fixing” problems with the show has never been less important to me. That’s not to say I have no complaints, but playing around with a satisfying and fun universe is most of what is going on here.
After the jump, we’ll explore some variations for late Season Four.
It is becoming difficult to follow the outline I started for these posts way back when I was doing a weekly post during Season Three. The format has always been episode commentary, what I would have liked to see, and fan fiction. For this post, fan fiction will fill it almost entirely.
My overall impression of the show at this point is very high. ‘Nuf said about that!
As I mentioned last time, I would still prefer as different treatment or actress for Vivian. I think she needed to be a little more over the top looney like her father. One other little issue at this point, I think this is where we pay the price of Ellie still being on the outside. When we get to Agent X Chuck’s big moment, big reveal of being both a spy and the human Intersect, the successful product of their father’s labors, is immediately overshadowed by the Agent X reveal. That is a shame. I would have liked to see Chuck and Ellie have some time to discuss their father’s work and vision, along with how it functions, and what Ellie has done/can do to make it better; before we get to the Agent X reveal and finale arc. Yes this is a fairly small thing of little emotional consequence to me, but it does stand out to me as something that easily could have been better. My other observation from this period has to do with Cliffhanger. This really is a great episode; but again, one little thing just screams at me. We touched on this in the main re-watch post this week, but it bothers me that they chose a silly sight gag involving a funeral instead of showing the moment Sarah came out of her coma. By itself, this really is small stuff. But I think it points towards what I think is a big part of why the show only ran five seasons. The show runners (both of them, at different times) treated the romance like something they needed to tease, and delay gratification on. Like it was a climactic element and they should keep us in the dark along with how the villains would be overcome. I think this was a big, very big mistake. Instead of teasing the wedding I think they should have been trumpeting it weeks out. It should have been prominently featured in previews, and bragged up in interviews and press events. I think that would have built excitement. And playing up a big wedding would generate tons of free publicity in entertainment news and magazines. Huge opportunity wasted. Instead, Chris Fedak consistently used what I once called negative energy, and I guess I just called it that again. He teased that it might not happen, that it might just be a dream wedding. I think this is terribly poor planning and use of publicity. Its applying the mission story telling methods to pure character issues; treating the wedding like the villain of the week. I think this could have been handled much better.
So that all went longer than I expected! I have a lot of fan fiction I want to get to this time. Let’s start with the very first story by Quistie64. That is Chuck vs The Ninja Librarian. This is firmly set during the engagement period of the show, Vivian is the main villain; but most significantly, Sarah makes a new friend. That really is the main draw here; Jen, the librarian, makes a humorously good match for Sarah. And she will be dragged into the pursuit of Vivian. This is just a ton of fun, and is well suited to a great period of the show.
Another good story for this period is “Chuck vs The Pacifier” by mia2009. This is set during the engagement and, no surprise, it starts when Chuck and Sarah are babysitting Clara. This is another story played mostly for fun, although the mission part of it does get more exciting than I first thought it might.
Or how about “Chuck and Sarah vs The Veterans” by BDaddyDL (with some help from Quistie64). Chuck and Sarah receive unexpected advice from an older spy couple. Are Woody and Honey Woodcomb the most unexpected spy couple imaginable? This works better than you might think, fun story.
Long time commenter at this site, MyNameIsJeffNImLost has written several stories of interest to this period. Jeff’s style is always entertaining, clever, funny, and just tons of fun. The first recommendation I’ll make of his is “Chuck & Sarah vs the Niece“. This is another babysitting story, someone is trying to get Sarah more comfortable with the idea of kids. But is it Chuck or Ellie? A fun and brief story. We also have “Bridezilla vs the Extreme Wedding“. This is obviously set at the very end of the period, and offers a very different version of the nuptials than Cliffhanger did.
A fairly uncommon thing Jeff has done is write a few Chuck/Castle crossover stories. These shows are similar enough in tone that sharing a universe is not completely unreasonable. Jeff actually has a couple of different Chuck/Castle crossover AUs covering five different stories. “Castle vs the Law of Averages” fits perfectly with this period of the show. The story’s title references a Castle quote; since Rick is always eager to assume CIA involvement in odd cases, its inevitable he’ll eventually be correct. Being a crossover, the bulk of the narrative energy is spent on how the two casts will see each other. But those impressions are so much fun. Morgan is well used here, although Beckett wouldn’t agree with that assessment…
There a number of other stories set during Chuck and Sarah’s engagement. Although most will have nothing to do with Vivian Volkoff or the Agent X story line. But I think for many fans this a fun and joyful period of the show that many writers have wanted to play around with.
I think there will be three more posts in this series. One through the front of Season Five with the Morgansect and Fizzled Conspiracy arcs. I’ll do another for the back part of the season and Finale arc. Then a separate post for post-series alternatives; boy, that could get truly massive if I let it!
As always, now its your turn to bring up things you might have liked to see different, or published fan fiction that did something you really enjoyed.