Chuck vs The Zoom (5.01)

Well, we’ve made it to the last season.  This re-watch has seemed both endless and all too short at the same time.  So now, with only three months left, we get to Chuck and Sarah married, Team B working as a private business, and Morgan as the current Intersect.  So much change…

After the jump, we’ll dive right into our final season premier.

The Morgansect Arc (5.01-5.03) was not well received.  As an arc, only the Misery Arc seems to score worse in our Chuck This poll.  Some of this may have been due to low expectations.  I know going back to the end of Cliffhanger many of us (including me) had concerns about how much screen time would go to Morgan when we really wanted to see Chuck and Sarah as the focus of the show.  In the end, I’m okay with this story.  Bearded Bandit was the nadir in our poll, and I would agree with that.  While the first and last episodes of the arc were rated at the low end of average. I think that says many viewers gave the episodes a chance, and were okay, if not enthused, with them.  At least that’s how I felt.  I am able to enjoy the whole arc at this point, especially seeing how these episodes inform us about Sarah’s recovery process at the end.  And I’m fine with calling Zoom an average (ish) episode.

There is certainly plenty that’s fun here.  The episode opens with a gorgeous scene, that is also funny in how it introduces Team B’s super weapon.  I particularly like how reluctant Casey is to even acknowledge their super spy.  I also like how Sarah seems the most comfortable with it.

A few other highlights, I like how the new team dynamic is introduced and I like the “moral ambiguity” discussion.  Although its funny to me that Casey is the one concerned.  Meeting the new client a is very funny moment; working some kinks out indeed!  I wholeheartedly endorse Sarah’s method for getting information from her husband; I’m not sure it would actually work that way, but I endorse the methodology nonetheless and both parties seem to enjoy the process quite a bit.

Morgan in his Michael Carmichael persona is very funny in this episode.  Its funny in a tragic sort of way how next week, as the Intersect starts to consume him, Morgan will loose the ability to switch off “Michael”, it will become his base personality!  But in spite of a few warning signs, all seems well here.  I really like the Sarah/Morgan friendship we see developing, and I like how Sarah will look out for the little guy even when Chuck looses confidence in him in the next couple episodes.  Chuck isn’t the only beneficiary of lioness protector mode.  There’s some very funny moments on the mission here too; from a spy high five, to a comical and distracting dance routine (per IMDb, Yvonne is only one inch taller than Josh.  It looked more like six! Good staging), to “computer emergency”.

A few sub-plots are at play here.  First would be Chuck’s plan to buy Sarah her dream house.  Chuck not actually finding out what Sarah would consider a dream house was a small road bump.  But all’s well that ends well, and an open husband/wife talk at home in bed, is a nice moment.  The end scene is even better.  “You are our leader” may be the dominant theme of this final season.

We also have an interesting Chuck/Ellie discussion.  This scene is interesting on a couple levels; we had heard as shooting started that Sarah Lancaster had returned from maternity leave over a week after the rest of the cast started.  So I’m thinking the one Chuck/Ellie scene was probably shot the week after the rest of the episode was complete.  But it covers some interesting material too.  Ellie expresses her confidence in Chuck’s leadership in a way that foreshadows what Sarah will tell him in the end.  So we see a symbolic representation of how Sarah is taking Ellie’s place in Chuck’s life; exactly as it should be.

We also have a few scenes with Clyde Decker, including the ominous set up of the Grande Dud Conspiracy at the very end.  You know we’ll talk more about that in a few weeks.

So overall I think a fun episode.  Not the strongest season premier of the series, but far from the weakest too.

~ Dave
ct_bar
I’m repeating myself, but if someone had asked me in the summer and fall of 2011 how I wanted Chuck and Sarah to live out their days, the opening scene of Chuck vs. The Zoom comes freakishly close. It was like they were reading my mind.

Perfect!

Perfect!

Here they are at the start of their marriage, Chuck&Sarah the power couple (a term we used a lot back then), very much in love, worth a billion dollars (and looking like they are worth at least that much) overlooking a gorgeous vista with their equally gorgeous mansion in the background. Perfect. Exactly what I wanted for them.

Like Sarah told us more than once, things are “complicated”, though. So it’s no real shock that my vision of Bartowski heaven isn’t quite there yet at the beginning of S5. But that’s okay. The truth is almost comforting, isn’t it? The married couple…

Chuck: Hello. Husband? It’s my official title now.

… may still be living in an Echo Park apartment, but that’s alright. It’s cozy. Morgan may have The Intersect, but he’s still, well, Morgan.

Antics

Antics

Jeff and Lester are still up to their antics. Casey will still grunt his cynical way through the morally ambiguous world of corporate espionage, but to get him to act, all you have to do is give him the right incentive.

Woodley: He stole 2 million from Rush Limbaugh.
Casey: Tell me everything you know about this animal!

Adam? Did you suggest that line, or what? 😉

Which isn’t to say that everything’s the same. Not by a long shot. [What was your first clue, Buckley?] Hang on – I have an answer to that! It’s Sarah. She’s absolutely wonderful as Mrs. Bartowski. Maybe I was expecting the same sort of tentativeness that Agent Walker showed too often at the fountain every time Chuck, in his transparent way, made it clear that he was in love with her. Maybe I was expecting her to pull away at the last moment the way she had after the proposal on the balcony got interrupted by the CIA for a mission that she accepted hours later.

Or maybe I expected Sarah to dig in her heels a bit, fighting to stay in her old, familiar life the way she did about moving in with Chuck – let’s call it the thirty foot rule – and about unpacking.

Friends and Family

Friends and Family

Instead, what we get is someone who is becoming comfortable having a family while still being a (corporate) spy, even with the secret corporate/family handshake.

She’ll play Sarah the bunny to Morgan’s rich, playboy, squash player and she’ll do a little dirty dancing for the sake of the mission.

Sarah: Do you realize that I’m a trained spy, who can tell when somebody is keeping a secret?

You bet. But once she’s home, ah, that’s where she belongs. Our adrenaline soaked, jet-setting, dancing-till-dawn-with-Gorbachev former CIA agent has finally come to grips with that other part of her, the one that wants a home.

Sarah: Well, I always imagined, uh, a little white house with a red door, and – don’t laugh – but it had a picket fence just like, you know, the houses that you see on TV that people live in.
Chuck: Hmmm. Mid-century. Very Leave It To Beaver.
Sarah: Cozy, homey and simple.
Chuck: And perfect.

Spying without benefit of Intersect is hard

Spying without benefit of Intersect is hard

There’s that word again. All this, plus the fantastic plan that Chuck improvises on the spot (you know, where he pretends to be a nerd-herder) makes this one of my favorite episodes, ranked much higher in my personal list than the general consensus placement.

But yeah, there’s a downside. By the end of Chuck vs. The Zoom, Decker has taken most of the Bartowski’s $0.78 B, Sarah’s dream house, modest as it is, has become out of reach and Chuck has discovered that the spy life without the Intersect is difficult. I almost hate to say it, but Chuck’s old insecurities, the one’s that made him whine too much, seem to have returned too.

Yet something is different. It’s not that Chuck suddenly woke up and realized that, even without The Intersect, he’s become “the Chuck we always knew he could be.” Chuck’s far too modest a person for that. It’s not like there’s some great new hope on the horizon telling him that Carmichael Industries is going to be a raging success if only he does X, Y and Z or makes the right plan.

Requires the help of a partner

Requires the help of a partner

What’s different is that Chuck has a partner with whom he can communicate. What’s different is his knowledge of Sarah’s commitment and the ring on his finger. When Chuck is wondering where he fits in, he has a partner whose answer he can believe.

Sarah: Chuck, you’re our leader.

I find that’s the most fantastic change of all.

Take my hand and lead me home again

– joe

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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144 Responses to Chuck vs The Zoom (5.01)

  1. thinkling says:

    YS is only 1.5 inch taller than JG? Wow. She always seems to tower over him. Could it be the tower heels (modern female torture device)? I’ll comment more later, but that just astounded me.

    • joe says:

      Gotta be those platform heels.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m sure the heals have a lot to do with it! I would imagine both actors emphasize the impression with posture and gestures. But I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to discover Morgan is actually taller than me…

      It is so funny how Sarah seems much bigger than Morgan.

      • joe says:

        Posture, gestures and attitude do have a lot to do with it. I’m sure much of that is covered in acting 101 (which is already way out of my skill set) and it makes Sarah a bit taller than Yvonne and Morgan a bit shorter than Josh.

        IIRC, Nelson Rockefeller (Gov of NY in the 60s and VP during the Ford Admin.) was only 5’2″ and Humphrey Bogart was quite a bit shorter than Lauren Bacall. It’s the personae that’s larger than life, right?

  2. latetotheparty says:

    I remember watching the first episode of Chuck on DVD the very night that the last episode played, some kind of cosmic intervention I’m not sure, but after seeing that first episode I was hooked, and in all the way. That night I saw the first six episodes in rapid order and the next night zipped through the rest of seasons one. Season two and three followed just as fast and when I finally got season four from the library I watched it nonstop in a twenty four hour plus marathon and that’s when I started on my adventures with Chuck and Sarah.
    First I found your blog, the best one ever. Through you I found Mo Ryan’s and Liz James, they too were very fair and objected as well. I started reading all your reviews and critiques. I read anything pertaining to Chuck trying to catch up. Remember, I’m five years behind at this point, trying to find out as much about the wonderful show as I could. No other blogs were as balanced as you guys; and, that’s why I have stayed true to ChuckThis. I had started my own re-watch, well really I never stopped, with season one and then on to season two. I would watch the show then read the critiques; it was just like being there the only difference was I couldn’t make comments. All was well until I got around to season three again. The very first time I saw these episodes I knew that I didn’t like the way they were treating Sarah in what would become known as the “Misery Arc”, and felt uncomfortable while watching those episodes. I would read your comments and critique about the controversy over the 3.0, Comic Con, and the direction that the show had taken. I remember, a lot of fans weren’t happy, you included. I would have loved to have been there first hand at Comic Com, meeting and talking with all the other fans. The more I read, the more I became disenchanted with the showrunners, the shows redirection, and their arrogance towards the fans. Then we were subjected to the “misery arc”, to the point of total disgust and distain. It all turn me off of wanting to watch the best show ever, a show that was fun and easy to watch until it went to the dark side. That was then.
    Dave, once in a lifetime a show comes along that really makes a difference in your life, and that show for me was Chuck. This may seem odd to say about a “TV show”. Chuck has had such a life changing influence for me, and for the better in so many different ways including my loosing thirty pounds…… It was something Yvonne had said. This has been the best series ever. No other show even comes close, and I’ve been around since when a TV set in our home was just a distant dream.
    I’ve been following the current re-watch critiques closely without watching any of the episodes. I still have not forgotten, or forgiven. I have not been able to watch any of the episodes knowing that 3.0 would be hard to deal with. I enjoy your feedback and your perspective regarding the way the show has been handled or mishandled.
    As the re-watch comes up on the fifth and last season of Chuck, I will be paying particularly close attention to your reviews and comments. Although I have the DVD from the fifth season, still in the original wrapper, anxiously bought on the day of release, I have not been able to bring myself to watch any of the fifth season. At the time I bought the complete series, I planned to enjoy Chuck for a long time to come. That regrettably, has not happened.
    Here is the rub. While waiting for the fifth season to come out on DVD, I went on YOUTUBE and viewed scenes from some of the episodes of season five as kind of a sneak preview. In one of the episodes I saw that they had brought back Shaw and it made me sick. In that clip he was very violent towards Sarah. In other episodes of season five I felt the violence was quite intense and disturbing as well. What part of comedy don’t they understand? The question I ask myself is, why would I want to watch a show where once again my favorite character, one that I care about, and have invested in, made a connection with, and felt for, is abused and degraded to a point of making me ill? 3.0 was enough for me. I remember when Chuck was fun. The point of this comment is, did season five become too violent or malevolent?
    I will be paying close attention to your take and comments to see in what direction the season will head. I will use your critique as a guide to watch, or not watch, season five. I would rather remember the show with mostly good times than be subjected to more misery. I would like to get past the memories of the “misery arc” to where I could enjoy the rest of the series with fondness. However, I don’t want to be subjected to disappointment. Thank you all at ChuckThis for your love and the energy you have given to this fantastic show.

    • atcDave says:

      Gee no pressure…

      I recommend S5 very highly. We finally get to see Chuck and Sarah as a mature and happy couple. Really, all the way through. Like every season it has its ups and downs. But I would say fun and satisfying all the way through.
      For most viewers Shaw presented no difficulty. He is a villain all the way through at this point; neither Sarah nor any viewer is likely to be confused by that issue. Like so many episodes there are some things we can nit pick on that one, and we certainly will in a few weeks!
      The only thing that is somewhat controversial is the end itself; and really I can’t predict what you or anyone else will think of it. A majority seemed to like it fine. I even think most viewers who were less thrilled with it have now accepted it as the happy end the show runner claimed it to be. Be sure to watch the director’s cut of it (its under “extra features”, not the version on the episode menu!), I think the joy of the end is more obvious with the fuller context of the longer cut.

      Chuck really was a special show from beginning to end. Obviously I think the middle part (the Misery Arc) was poorly handled, but other than that, Chuck will be a fond memory and experience for the rest of my life.

      • “But Arthur my friend, it was ambiguous. There was never a doubt that they would find their way back.”

        That is, by definition, not ambiguous. Your cruelty argument is a better one. The amnesia arc is certainly cruel to Chuck and Sarah (and honestly, I think it’s even more cruel to Chuck). And it’s certainly fair to criticize the overall arc for being too cruel or cliche. I happen to think that, as a viewer, Goodbye was a good enough payoff to justify the overall arc. But I’m certainly less of a fan of that plot point than I am of Sarah/Goodbye as episodes, so I see where you’re coming from.

        Where I differ with you is that when I’m talking about ending, I’m talking about the last two episodes in the context of a tragedy that’s taken place. Put another way, I care much, much more about Chuck/Sarah’s response to the amnesia tragedy than I do about the arc itself.

        Dave disagrees with me here, but my problem in S3 wasn’t that it was too dark; it was that 3.0 was poorly executed, out of character, didn’t make any sense, and it discarded the established nature of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. S5 avoids those mistakes (Mostly. Damn you, Curse!), and IMO was executed beautifully. So I can live with the tragedy, especially when it ends as beautifully and happily as Goodbye did. Rivers and Road til I’m with you… I still get chills when I hear the song.

        The idea that Chuck and Sarah could withstand the literally the worst thing (short of death) that could happen to them, and still find and love each other – that their relationship and their love is so strong it transcends the events and memories that led to it – is everything I ever wanted from Chuck, all encapsulated in a single moment.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur I think for most of us the ambiguity in the end actually was “will the Bartowski marriage survive?” The night it ran we saw comments like “divorce by amnesia”. CF’s insistence Chuck and Sarah were fine, the ambiguity was meant to be how long it would take for Sarah’s memories to come back; is both good and bad news. It settles the most basic questions for many of us, and leaves a sort of ambiguity we can tolerate (if not quite embrace).
        Many of us will always wish that ending had been more clear. And obviously some remain profoundly disgruntled by it.

        And actually my beef with S3 is closer to yours than you seem to think. I have often mentioned the darker themes as a sticking point for me, and that’s true. But the shattering thing, what guarantees I will never like that season, is the breakdown between Chuck and Sarah. Starting with Chuck being reticent at the worst possible time, to Sarah suddenly not being patient and understanding, to Chuck whoring around a couple weeks after telling Sarah he loves her… I don’t recognize these characters. And I hate what I see. If a despicable character suddenly shows wisdom or forgiveness we my celebrate the change. But when two such beautiful characters suddenly behave in contemptible ways I can only despise the result.

    • thinkling says:

      Hey Latetotheparty. Glad you’re joining us. Like you I found Chuck late — after S3. I caught up fast, found ChuckThis, and joined the community. (After they couldn’t shut me up, they asked me to be an author on the blog. It has been so much fun.)

      I encourage you to watch S5. S5 (then S4, then seasons 2 and 1 or 1 and 2, depending on the day) is my favorite season. I think the main reason is the joy of seeing Chuck and Sarah married and happy. They finally have all that I have wanted for them. Moreover, I love the tone that their relationship sets for the season. It’s just kind of … well, perfect.

      But there is an undertow. The undertow of the spy world is nothing new. It’s been an ever present antagonist the whole series. The spy world is always a lurking threat to Chuck’s real/normal world. In S5 that undertow holds more danger (especially the final arc). The stakes are higher. They have more to lose. It gradually becomes apparent that Chuck and Sarah can’t really eat their cake and still have it. They can’t live in both worlds. The spy world won’t allow it.

      You may well have seen the few clips of violence there are in S5. The threat is greater, but the increased threat level of S5 in no way diminishes the humor, heart, and romance … unlike S3 where the darkness sucked all heart and romance right out of the first 13 episodes. I don’t think of S5 as a dark season. Certainly S3 was far darker to me, and darker in an unacceptable way … through the CRM (Central Relationship Malfunction/Misery).

      I can take external threats to our heroes. That makes for a good story … a strong Chuck and Sarah against the world, and ultimately victorious. (What I couldn’t take was Chuck and Sarah against each other ala S3.)

      Shaw’s return did rankle, but as Dave said he was pure enemy to all. In spite of Shaw, Santa Suit had plenty to enjoy. Even though I didn’t like the return of Shaw (I wish he had stayed at the bottom of the Seine), I gave the episode a positive review.

      Anyway, welcome to the blog. And I really hope you watch S5 with us.

      And Dave, Joe, Ernie, feel free to chime in if you disagree with my assessment.

      • atcDave says:

        I pretty completely agree with all of that, no surprise. I generally rank S5 slightly below S4 just because I think it had more weak episodes; but how happy and sweet together Chuck and Sarah are almost makes the season all by itself. And some of the stronger episodes are my all time favorites (Business Trip, Hack Off, Baby).
        I agree completely about Shaw, most wasted resurrection ever; but he is purely a traditional villain at this point, no chance of “seducing” anyone over to his side.

      • You know Thinkling, I completely agree with you about Chuck/Sarah in S5. One of the great aspects of pre-amnesia S5 (and IMO post-amnesia as well) is that they put Chuck and Sarah through problems, but those problems are always external to the relationship. They bond between Chuck and Sarah is always what ultimately gets them through those problems, but unlike S3, Chuck and Sarah are always together against whatever struggle comes there way.

        Not to start and S3 convo, but the biggest problem was that the dilemmas always felt false. Chuck and Sarah had such a strong chemistry and connection, that for them to casually toss it aside just felt incorrect. In S5, even Sarah losing her memory only causes a two-week blip in the radar. It’s a actually a really brave approach to the season, as many lesser shows would’ve chosen to create drama from within the relationship instead.

      • atcDave says:

        I almost completely agree Arthur. Especially about your S3 comments. I’m less sold on “brave” as a finale description, I think it was a very rote return to the wt/wt well; a well that had run dry prior to S3 I believe. But I do agree with what was so right about the bulk of the season.

      • There’s two differences. First, even if I accept your wt/wt premise, Goodbye’s dilemma is much more “real” than Pink Slip’s. In Pink Slip, the characters are acting in ways they wouldn’t act to a problem they should never have had. In Goodbye, they’re both acting plausibly to a dilemma that was built into the narrative of the show. uplink used to make this point all the time, that even though he didn’t like Goodbye, it was much better written.

        The second is that I don’t see goodbye as a return of wt/wt, mostly because the structural obstacles to Chuck and Sarah being together no longer exist. If Chuck and Sarah meet as two regular people during the pilot, they end up dating each other. They just have that chemistry.

        This is not the same thing as me saying there wouldn’t be major obstacles for them after Goodbye. There’s no point in a couple’s life where there aren’t new major obstacles. It’s just that they’ve written into this universe that Chuck and Sarah share a bond together that’s completely unbreakable – that even after Sarah loses her memories, they keep bumping together, they keep needing each other, that when it’s all said and done, they end up on the same beach, watching the sun set while they hold each other against tides of life.

        One reason I always loved Goodbye was because they’d just spent the entire preceding two hours doing everything short of screaming at us that Chuck and Sarah would end up together, that Chuck would never, ever let anything else happen, and that Sarah just couldn’t help but be drawn, almost magnetically, towards him. I just never saw the ambiguity.

      • Also, I wasn’t calling the finale brave; I was talking about their treatment of the relationship up to the finale. Though I think Goodbye is wonderful, I’m not sure it exactly required courage.

      • thinkling says:

        Yvonne used the word “bold” to describe the finale. It’s a good word. I think it was definitely bold as opposed to safe or predictable.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur I can agree with most of that argument, and I love the idea that they will never give up on each other. But I still won’t buy brave or bold. I think it was really cliche to return to that trope. And I find it cliche on two counts; first just amnesia in general (is there any hour long drama that hasn’t used an amnesia story?) and second that they would use romantic angst as the driving force in the end.
        I don’t particularly object to either decision, especially if they’d done just a slightly more thorough job of tying their loose ends back together. The performances and execution were Chuck at its absolute best. But I see nothing brave, bold or creative about it.

      • atcDave says:

        Just as an aside; I always view descriptors like “brave” and “bold” with suspicion. I think its usually code for “a lot of fans aren’t going to like this”. And since its usually reserved for finales when the show runner can feel he no longer needs the support of said fans; I would call it more the opposite of “brave” or “bold”.
        Its more like abandoning those who got you to that end…

      • joe says:

        Dave asks the musical question [I]s there any hour long drama that hasn’t used an amnesia story?

        Well, there is a lot of amnesia going around Hollywood these days, but the one show I can think of that hasn’t used the trope (yet) is Castle. I’m guessing that Ryan will come down with it before Rick or Kate do, though.

      • I agree with the part about those adjectives describing finales, Dave, which is why, again, I wasn’t describing the finale as brave. I do, however, think it is bold, meaning “strong or vivid.” I’m aware you probably disagree with that too, but we’ve gone back and forth on that enough times.

      • atcDave says:

        Fair enough Arthur.

        Joe I’m pretty sure you’ve just forgotten Castle’s amnesia episode (!). Season Two, Episode Eleven. “The Fifth Bullet”. It was a suspect not a main character, but still.

      • joe says:

        Oh yeah, I remember, Dave. It’s close, but it wasn’t Castle or Beckett who did the forgetting in that one, right? – It was the witness. The kind of episode I was thinking about would be where one of them forgets who the other is, or maybe forgets who they are.

      • The worst amnesia plot line was in Lois & Clark, which was back-to-back with the cloning and frogs plot line while TPTB stalled the wedding for a year. They did have a pretty funny joke about it the following season in which Lois faked amnesia after a little bump on the head.

        If you think Castle is left out, there’s fanfiction from chezchuckles and Sandiane Carter:
        https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8065123/1/John-Doe
        It’s one of their 15 excellent collaborations. This one is very suspenseful mystery. It also held up well under a re-read last month. There’s an epilogue in chapter 4 of the Castle Christmas Special:
        https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9892375/4/Castle-Christmas-Special

      • revdr says:

        Everyone; I tend to agree that the end was neither the safe or the easy out. It was definitely a different choice. But Arthur my friend, it was ambiguous. There was never a doubt that they would find their way back. That isn’t the issue. You’re right they are drawn to each other. But to have to find their back was cruel. Each and every one of us who took that ride with them from the pilot to Goodbye felt every pain that they felt. It wasn’t even a matter of wt/wt rather it was when will they? That’s the point. To put them back on yet another journey to one another was just not right. I remember watching a movie once (I don’t recall which one right now) but the question was asked “how many times does a man have to win you”? That’s how I felt when I watched Goodbye, and that was my question. How many times do we have to watch them go through this? Don’t they deserve to just be happy? It was mean, and highly unfair. The beach scene was a wonderful callback, but to leave it like that I will never like or understand. Hope is a wonderful thing; I preach it every day; but everyone wants a happily-ever-after and with Goodbye we did not get that. Oh yeah; I agree with you Jeff about Lois and Clark…that was really, really bad.

      • (Sorry for the double post; you guys can delete the last one.)

        “But Arthur my friend, it was ambiguous. There was never a doubt that they would find their way back.”

        That is, by definition, not ambiguous. Your cruelty argument is a better one. The amnesia arc is certainly cruel to Chuck and Sarah (and honestly, I think it’s even more cruel to Chuck). And it’s certainly fair to criticize the overall arc for being too cruel or cliche. I happen to think that, as a viewer, Goodbye was a good enough payoff to justify the overall arc. But I’m certainly less of a fan of that plot point than I am of Sarah/Goodbye as episodes, so I see where you’re coming from.

        Where I differ with you is that when I’m talking about ending, I’m talking about the last two episodes in the context of a tragedy that’s taken place. Put another way, I care much, much more about Chuck/Sarah’s response to the amnesia tragedy than I do about the arc itself.

        Dave disagrees with me here, but my problem in S3 wasn’t that it was too dark; it was that 3.0 was poorly executed, out of character, didn’t make any sense, and it discarded the established nature of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. S5 avoids those mistakes (Mostly. Damn you, Curse!), and IMO was executed beautifully. So I can live with the tragedy, especially when it ends as beautifully and happily as Goodbye did. Rivers and Road til I’m with you… I still get chills when I hear the song.

        The idea that Chuck and Sarah could withstand the literally the worst thing (short of death) that could happen to them, and still find and love each other – that their relationship and their love is so strong it transcends the events and memories that led to it – is everything I ever wanted from Chuck, all encapsulated in a single moment.

  3. latetotheparty says:

    Dave,
    Thanks for your reply; this was the second time I have made a comment and I didn’t mean to put you on the spot, I just thought you would be the best person to ask based on your feelings for the show. Although I’ve been an avid follower of this blog, I felt I had nothing to add by way of a comment till now, and really this was more of a question than a comment and I do appreciate your honest response. Sorry for being so long winded, but I thought the back-story was important to put things in perspective, Chuck was not just another show.

    I did see the ending of the series on YouTube with the memory loss and saw it as a final kick in the teeth to the fans by the showrunners/writers, one of many reasons I will never watch a show of theirs ever again, I don’t like bait and switch.

    I saw the exit polls on the finial and of all the viewers 21% loved it and the rest of the 79% of the viewers had very mixed acceptance of the finial episode. And remember all the shippers and fans that left the show through season three, I would bet that they would not have voted with the 21% folks. I’ll be sure to watch the director’s cut, this might help to understand the ending a little better, although not sure at this point how it will make a difference. I don’t like to surmise or see stories left in limbo, but instead I would like the writers to do their job and tell the story. I’ve enjoyed your perspective of what a show needs to be, and that is it needs to be fun to watch first off. This is how the show was presented in the first two seasons. Thanks again.

    • atcDave says:

      You don’t have to have anything important to say to pitch in, none of us ever do…

      But seriously, the longer comments are great. I think a strength of this blog has always been our eagerness to get into more in depth discussion; both the principals and many of our guests help out with that! Think of this as a community; longer commentary and silly quips all fit in here.

      If you’ve read our commentary about Season Five, you know I’ve always had mixed feelings about it. And I agree completely with not really appreciating the implied or ambiguous elements of the ending.
      But there is so much that’s good about it. From great performances, to seeing Chuck rise to the toughest challenge of all, to even seeing Sarah go her full range from tough and closed off to open and vulnerable again in the very end. It is unfortunate they got a little cute with their artsy sort of end. But that’s part of why the context of the full season matters so much. From watching Morgan’s progress and recovery from the corrupt Intersect; to seeing the new lifestyle, values and priorities Sarah embraces during the season; to seeing her step back towards being that fully mature woman again in the end. The greater context of the whole Season Five will help those last four minutes mean far more, and seem far more joyful than they ever could in isolation as a single clip.
      I will always wish we’d had more time with these characters, especially that strong, mature couple we get to enjoy throughout the final season. But they won, they made it. Through the hurt and all I have no doubt they’re fine now…

    • revdr says:

      Late: you’ll never be able to form you own opinion unless you watch season 5 for yourself. Me, my opinion is fully formed and has been expressed (on more than one occasion) but it is my opinion. There are some really good things about the season as well as some things really bad. But that can be said for all the other seasons as well. See for yourself; love it, hate it or somewhere in between it’s still Chuck!!

      • atcDave says:

        If nothing else, Baby is a top ten ranked episode; one of the series’ best. There are other great moments, and some not so great. But I do recommend the season.

  4. John says:

    Long time, first time.
    Discovered Chuck on Netflix on Thanksgiving. Fell in love.
    Season 5 hurts me to watch – from how it ended to the fact that it meant the show ended.
    But I enjoyed this episode.
    First time viewing, I didn’t even realize the villain in the beginning was Mark Hamill.
    The years have not been kind to Craig Kilborn but he made for a fun, smarmy villain.
    Plus the whole sequence when Chuck jumps through the window to escape, coupled with a perfect musical accompaniment, was FANTASTIC.

    • atcDave says:

      Its really awesome to see the number of new fans we seem to have picked up through Netflix!

      Welcome aboard John.
      S5 being the end sure does make it all a little melancholy, but what a great ride!
      Mark Hamill sure has changed a LOT. I guess we were all spoiled here because we knew clearly he was coming from all the press releases and BTS stuff we got during filming. But I’ve spoken to a lot of people who never would have recognized him. I know my wife didn’t; it was funny because I mentioned a few days later something about Mark Hamill having just been on, and my wife let out a “NO!” She really didn’t believe me at first!

    • joe says:

      Welcome, John. Hum… I may have to add a new acronym to the list – LT/FT. I like it.

      I know what you mean about Mark Hamill. I’ve had the opposite effect happen to me too; all of a sudden I’m noticing a lot of Chuck alums on other shows. Just yesterday I saw an old episode of Monk with Mini Anden (Carina). (It also had Malcolm McDowell in it, the actor who played Bret Stiles, one of the Red John suspects, in The Mentalist.) A bunch of us recently noticed Matthew Willig, the guy who played Yuri “The Gobbler” and Uri in The Tango episode, doing a commercial.

      Every so often I’ll see Jesse Heiman – he’s in at least one episode of NCIS that I’m aware of and I caught him once in King of Queens. But he is, of course, the world’s greatest extra. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Ha! Here’s one. I just started watching Alias. Talk about late to the party! But their awkward Q guy played the bad guy gymnast on Chuck in the episode Truth.

      • noblz says:

        There is a show on Netflix called the Finder. It has Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP) and Mercedes Masohn (who also looks good in black bra and panties). It only went one season, but the character and story was introduced in a S6 Bones episode which featured Mini Anden.

  5. resaw says:

    For me the highlight of this episode was clearly Chuck’s plan that got Sarah, Morgan, Casey and even Chuck himself out safe alive. I’ll willingly suspend my disbelief at Chuck’s ability to bust through a large window and fall precisely on top of the van without harming himself in any way. It was a tense moment and the accompanying music was awesome.

    To Late to the Party: Watch Season 5 along with us. Enjoy the sweet times, the beautiful scenes of Chuck and Sarah’s maturing love for each other, roll your eyes at some of the stupider ideas (Bo Derek, anyone) in the season, rant about and lament the losses experienced at the end, and finally, recognize that there is hope there, even in that ambiguous finale. Oh, and one of the unexpected blessings of the “open-ended” finale has been the incredible post-finale fanfic that has been written in its wake. Watch the season with us and then go read some incredible story-telling, some from the same people who routinely write on this blog!

    • thinkling says:

      Yes, Resaw, Bo Derek = infinite eye-role loop. I mean Chuck and Morgan weren’t even born when 10 came out, and she’s old enough to be their mother. Sheesh. And now I’m twitching again.

      • This forum is so anti-Bo Derek! I thought it was the funniest episode Chuck ever put out. “AKA Michael Carmichael. Which is… ridiculous.” I burst out laughing every time I think about that line, and several others. “Just gefilte fish curry like always.” LOL. But I’ll wait.

      • thinkling says:

        It may be my age and gender, Arthur. The Bo derek part of the ep hinged on humor that just doesn’t do much for me. However, other aspects of that episode were hilarious. Ignoring BD, I really liked the rest of the ep.

    • atcDave says:

      Although “Don’t trust Bo Derek” almost makes the whole gag work. Kind of like “Merv Griffin is the Elevator Killer?!” Almost…

      No doubt about the awesome fan fiction Resaw! I would ditto that for S3 as well. Great things come from adversity.

      So Thinkling are suggesting there’s something wrong with my crush on Myrna Loy?

      • thinkling says:

        Why do I not think that’s the same thing, Dave? Perhaps I have to rethink the feasibility aspect of that part. I guess for me, if there was a funny part to BO, it was Morgan coming clean to Alex about his one night stand with Bo Derek. That was pretty funny. But we’re jumping ahead. We can chase this rabbit in a few weeks.

      • mr2686 says:

        OMG Dave, “Merv Griffin is the Elevator Killer?!” I haven’t thought about that in many many years. You just took me to a happy place.

      • atcDave says:

        Great line. I laughed so hard it truly made The Man With Two Brains worth it for me!

  6. noblz says:

    I really liked this episode, overall. The Morgansect was always a loser for me, but despite that there are only 2 segments I didn’t care for in this episode.

    One was the racquet club sequence. I know they were playing it for laughs, but it made Chuck look so ridiculous. Generally, when on of our main characters is made ridiculous or very OOC that is what I don’t care for.

    Second was the dance scene with Morgan. I mean when Chuck or Bryce danced with Sarah, they did some of the work. In this one, Morgan was like a pint sized stripper pole that Sarah danced around. Looked terrible to me.

    But Sarah “interrogating” Chuck and the ending with Chuck saving the day were really outstanding.

    A good solid episode that I liked even with the Morgan gaffs in it.

    • atcDave says:

      I pretty much agree Dave. I don’t really care for Chuck being the buffoon. It’s fairly brief here, it has occasionally nearly ruined some episodes (cough*Curse*cough) but it’s a brief enough thing here to not bother me a lot.
      But Morgan and Sarah’s dance was funny! Of course she did all the dancing. Pretty consistently with Morgansect it’s obvious the little guy is being doubled, or just doing nothing. But I figure that’s all part of the joke. And Sarah complimented him on his dancing! Too funny.

    • thinkling says:

      Agree, Noblz. I didn’t much care for the Sarah/Morgan dance, but I did like their scene at the racquetball court — especially the handshake.

    • Duckman says:

      I’ll agree the oily hands gags with chuck were a real turn-off for me. I just don’t like my buddy Chuck looking bad.
      Late- I’m probably less enthusiastic about everything past honeymooners than most here, I actually see a lot of myself in your post. I posted this elswhere the other day but I’ve found while watching s4 the 2nd time (with the benefit of this site this time) that most of the episodes have been more enjoyable. I think your concerns about s5 are not unfounded. Honestly, I would trade all of s5 for a proper drama free wedding episode. I have regretted watching s5 a few times myself. That said, some of the finest, spectacularly beautifull, genious scenes are in s5 along with some monumentally insulting,foul scenes as well. I think s5 is especially dependant on the viewer’s perception. As for if you should watch or not- If you don’t watch you’ll always wonder, and eventually watch anyway. The shaw episode is a tough one, when I watched it I considered it worse than nothing, takes the bottom 2 spots on my ranking, but I’m probably gonna rewatch it with this group on here just to see if it improves like some other episodes. I would highly reccomend tracking down some of dave’s fanfic posts. For me the greatest legacy of this show is the staggering variety and quality of fanfiction. SOM is the most enjoyable piece of fiction I’ve ever experienced,film or literature.

    • As much as I liked S5, I agree with noblz about the Morgansect, at least after this episode. It’s funny, because I was one of the few who was excited going in to it. But it just wasn’t funny, and puts too much pressure on Morgan to fill too many roles. I’m Morgan’s biggest fan, and I think the character is absolutely essential to the show, but the Morgansect stretched the character in too many directions. He had to be like a dangerous-buffoon-evil-friend-traitor-jokester.

      On the other hand, people are entirely too hard on Chuck on this episode. He’s spying without the intersect, bearing sole burden for the success of a spy boss, supporting his best friend, trying to make a dream life for his wife, and trying to take down and investing tycoon… and he made the mistake of not wiping his hands. Not that big a deal.

      Plus, his plan it the end is totally awesome, as is the video he leaves. They had to cover a lot of character development in this one episode to catch up with off-screen events, and I thought Zach did a great job conveying the range of emotions Chuck had to go through in such a short time.

  7. candm3407 says:

    My problem with season 5 goes along with my view of the last scene in season 4, when Morgan put the glasses on and then Sarah gets the Intersect later in the season. Although Sarah’s situation was more dire, it cheapens the whole Intersect story, In the beginning, it was suppose to be only Chuck because he had a special brain, and would not abuse it. He only used the Intersect when necessary.
    I do love Sarah and Chuck married, and seeing where do we go from here. I still can’t watch all the episodes of season 5 Chuck vs Sarah really disturbs me. I do like the closeness Morgan and Sarah get in their friendship, and it really started after push mix when Sarah offered her Jacket.

    My other problem with season 5 is a major character like Quinn should of not been saved for the final 4 episodes especially with the impact he provided Quinn is the third best baddie on the show behind Volkoff and Rourke and was wasted.

    Here is a question for everyone to ponder about the whole memory loss angle of season 5. Didn’t Orion say that you really don’t lose your memory, it just gets blocked by a psychological rock. Thus, the memories are still there? You can get them back….

    • atcDave says:

      Morgan and the Intersect is a touchy subject! My thought on suitability is that after Ellie modified it, more people would be able to use it with fewer side effects. Of course in the end, Morgan still really wasn’t a very good candidate; according to a deleted scene he and Sarah had the same corrupt version, yet Sarah only lost memories with use, Morgan turned into a total jerk as he lost memories.
      Orion did want the Intersect as an educational aid, so apparently he wanted it to work for more people. But in the end, Chuck was the only person to use it completely successfully. Although it looked to me like Sarah probably would have been fine with a pristine version.
      Chuck vs Sarah is a disturbing episode. Ultimately, in context, I think it works out okay (ish). But I never use that Title. It causes confusion and it pains to use the full version. I always just write it as 5.12. Its at about 98 of the top 100 things I would complain to CF about if I ever got the chance…

      Quinn is not the greatest villain of the series. I would rank Volkoff, Rourke, and really many others above him. But that said, my biggest beef is I wish Quinn had somehow tied in to the Grand Conspiracy we heard about from the start of the season, really, I wanted him to be the mastermind. Shaw as mastermind was the most flushable moment of the season.

      I don’t remember Orion ever addressing memory loss as an Intersect side effect. Rye called Chuck’s inability to flash back in S4 a psychological rock. But Rye was a rather comical idiot, and he was utterly wrong about what was wrong. It was suppressed by a specific suppression device, and restored via a reload of some sort.
      But even so, I think we saw some suggestion that Sarah’s memories were all still there. We were left with the great mystery of whether they would gradually come back to her, or maybe come flooding back if the right trigger could be found (magical kiss?). Many fan fiction writers have put forth heroic efforts to tell that story. But in the end, we know she wanted those memories back and was ready to reclaim her life with or without them. Maybe that’s enough?

      • Christopher says:

        Dave,
        When I said yesterday that Quinn was he was one of the best baddies in the series. My definition of a good baddie is someone who makes an impact on the main characters. For example, when I use to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Ralphie from Sopranos, I loved Angel because like Volkoff had the ability to make people bend in his favor. Quinn did this with erasing Sarah’s memories. However, he is no better than Volkoff or Rourke because those two had an important role with the original Intersect.

        The .evidence I can show that supports my claim that Orion knew about the negative effect of the intersect on the brain can be seen in Chuck vs The Living Dead he said, with each flash your brain generates an electrical shock that could lead to dementia. or worse death. This is why Orion created the governor to help fight that as he said a “pacemaker for the brain” It also proves that when Chuck was going through the problem with the flashes in Ring 2 all he needed was a “reboot” a memory of downloading the program when he was young.

        Same thing happened for Morgan, when brought something from his past. I mistakenly used the wrong character when regards to Physiological rock reference to Orion, but its the same result, and as I am writing this I realize now that the beach was for Sarah. As I said, Orion already knew about memory supression

      • atcDave says:

        That’s a reasonable theory Christopher. I hadn’t taken Orion’s “dementia” comment in that sense exactly, but it does make for a tidy package that way. And I like that it points towards a quicker recovery for Sarah!

    • revdr says:

      Ah yes, the dream sequence, aka Season 5. It’s pretty much the only way that I can view the final season (most of it anyway) without getting angry with the way things ended. Since I like Morgan in very small doses I was wary of what would happen from the start. The dream at least begins with Chuck and Sarah, married and happy and planning for their future together, provided they can get out of their current predicament. Very nice to see. Throughout the episode you can see the relationship growth: Sarah’s unquestioned support of her husband (even though knowing that she can still manipulate him to garner info when needed) and Chuck’s continuously evolving reliance on his own skillset, even while showing hints of envy/jealousy that his best friend now has the intersect. The Morgansect didn’t irritate as much I thought it might although I had hoped this arc would end quickly and not be aharbinger of things to come throughout this final season. Overall, Zoom was a fun episode, very funny in spots and sweet and romantic in others. I really did like parts of season 5 very much, but given that TPTB knew that this was the end, the final 13 should have much more of an impact with a definitive beginning and end without ambiguity, and the Dear John letter (sorry, love letter) to the fans would have been just that, not a raspberry as it turned out to feel like to some. But hey, after all, it was only a dream, right?

  8. John says:

    OH! I remembered something else.
    My favorite part about Season 5, from top to bottom, is Zachary Levi’s hair.
    That man has a beautiful head of hair.
    If I could have any celebrity hair, it’d be his. Or David Tennant’s. But mostly Zachary Levi’s Season 5 Chuck hair.

  9. oldresorter says:

    On rewatch and reconsideration, I like Zoom less, since the parallel of the Morgansect arc to the mean amnesia arc is so apparent. So S5 is hard to digest, with several Morgansect eps, and the unenjoyable, dark final two eps, along with the ugly Shaw ep, and the ‘bafoonish Chuck’ Curse and Kept Man eps. Add in the stupid, cringeworthy Bo ep, and its a tough season.

    I think the spirit was willing for S5, I see what the writers tried to do, it probably was a joke here, or a line there, and a stronger connection moment or two from really working.

    I think much of the season depends on what you think of the Sarah amnesia arc. If you like those two eps, then Morgansect should be beautiful to you, cause Morgansect justifies Sarah being OK.

    • revdr says:

      That’s my biggest problem though. The intersect went from being unique to being somewhat of a joke. True it did take a special individual (i.e. Chuck and Stephen B.) but it became an overused plot device after season 4. Obviously, I didn’t like the Sarah amnesia arc but it would have played better if used at the beginning of the season rather than the end. There would have been much more time to show recovery. The writers knew that this was the end yet it seemed at times as though they were writing on the fly.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree the Intersect was overdone, especially Morgan getting it is beyond silly, and the amnesia arc would have played better earlier in the season to actually show healing and recovery; BUT, they did make it clear, several times, that Orion’s intent was to use the Intersect as a learning aid commonly accessible. And Ellie made fixes to it at the end of S4 that was specifically to make it work better within a human brain. I have no problem with assuming a later version of the Intersect could work for a significant number of users. And I think that’s about where we were in the end. Ultimately the Intersect’s problems may have been of a “power corrupts” sort than anything functional (like Quinn wanted).

      • Wilf says:

        rev, you’re right, the memory loss would have played much better near the start of the season. However, I don’t actually think they were writing on the fly, nor did they wish to show any significant recovery over many episodes. Like it or not, they did seem to me to have some sort of plan and I’m pretty sure that, in particular, they had a very good idea of how the season was going to end in order to deliver their much vaunted “love letter” [ thankfully, I’ve never received such a hateful love letter from anyone – come to think of it, there have been precious few love letters at all 😉 ]

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Wilf that end was very deliberate. I remember when we were all anticipating the extended cut, trying to keep everyone’s expectations in check, because I just knew the very end itself would be exactly the same. CF was inordinately proud of that ending. Thankfully the extended cut did offer better context. But an actual better ending will have to wait for a movie.

      • thinkling says:

        I mostly agree with that, Dave, with a few extra thoughts. The Intersect was an evolving technology. It was almost a living entity, a character in its own right. Ellie may have altered it as soon as Leftovers before Chucks upload from Stephen’s computer. Then came the GRETAs, who didn’t handle it well at all, because it suppressed the human factor, neutralized their moral compass. Bentley thought this was a good thing. Everyone else knew better. In the end GRETA Rick admitted that it was an enormous burden. I liked that.

        So, despite the changes, the Intersect still isn’t quite ready for prime time, and Chuck is still the the only one who manages to control it.

        Fast forward to Morgan-sect. The technology is advanced enough for the masses (but Morgan … really!?), but of course this one is corrupted, and produces disastrous results. Morgan loses memories and becomes a lesser version of himself that takes his personality flaws to their extremes. (For the record Morgan-sect wasn’t as bad as I had feared it might have been, and I actually enjoyed the arc. Laying the groundwork for understanding what happened to Sarah and having confidence in her recovery, given that this was their direction all along … well, I see that as a good thing.)

        I agree that Sarah could probably handle the pristine version (and wouldn’t she be fun to watch!), but the corrupted version had the same effect on her as it did on Morgan. Her lesser traits (wild-card enforcer Sarah from the spy world) were exaggerated as her memories were lost. (Maybe the Sarah we saw in 5.12 wasn’t just Sarah-before-Chuck, but a worse version of that Sarah (perhaps worse than she ever really was) — that is, a completely unrestrained, nothing-but-a-spy Sarah.) In the end Chuck is the best and only Intersect standing, and I think we’re supposed to feel like that’s how it should be.

        Like all the other characters on Chuck, the Intersect grew and evolved, and I think I like that. It would have been kind of boring if the Intersect had remained its S1 version for five years. Just my 2c.

      • atcDave says:

        Some very good theories there Thinkling. I really hadn’t supposed Sarah’s personality had been affected any, just that she was responding to a very different situation and different Chuck in 5.12 than she had in 1.01. But it is a good thought, and the effect it had on the Gretas may be informative. Although against that may be that Sarah actually had the Intersect in 5.11, by 5.12 it had been suppressed.

      • revdr says:

        I can buy Thinkling’s theory but the question for me would just how far back Quinn suppressed Sarah’s memories. We know that it was at least 5 years but could it have even been farther? The Sarah we met at the beginning of the pilot was not the Sarah we saw in Chuck’s flash at the end. We got some backstory of her life in Baby and C.A.T. Squad but nothing really before or after. The “enforcer” we really never got to see. But you do see a hint of her in vs Sarah. Obviously the intersect was removed (or maybe not so obviously) but what really happened and what did Quinn actually do to her. Chuck never lost any memories either time that the intersect was removed. Morgan’s memories were disappearing while he still had the tainted intersect.

      • Wilf says:

        and Morgan’s memories weren’t forced out in the way Sarah’s were. So Sarah was losing memories “naturally” and by force, whereas Morgan’s losses were a natural progression only, as a result of the faulty intersect.

      • Christopher says:

        Revdr,
        I liked your post, I too feel that if your going to have what I consider a major arc like Sarah losing her memories. The story should be played out throughout the season. one of the best things about the show was they built each storyline from the previous season’s finale.
        Grant it they started the season with Morgansect, but if the plan was for Sarah to lose her memories, than it could’ve been expanded throughout the season. instead of Morgan getting it first. It should of been Sarah.

        Honestly, since TPTB only had 13 episodes to work with in the final scene. It would be hard for them to tell a complete story like they did for Seasons 2 through Seasons 4. So, they had very little to work with. A lot of the stories they wrote about would of been done more properly if they were extended beyond season 5.

        Like what would of happened with Casey and Gertrude, Alex/Morgan, Sarah/mom/molly. I also would of like them to find out about Omaha, which was mentioned throughout the series.

        I always had a wish of seeing Orion, Volkoff and Rourke working together, but I guess much like the final scene of the series. We would have to come up with our own theory.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m a little leery of of the “more time to tell the story” argument. I actually think this sort of story could get really old, really fast if recovery isn’t rapid. Like S3 where they took more time tell a story with utterly miserable results. It could have worked maybe if the emotional reconnection came immediately, and the rest of recovery was played more for comedy, and the occasional sweet/touching moment. But I certainly would have had no patience with too much “I need more time…”

      • thinkling says:

        Too true, Dave. Plus, I think they wanted to leave it exactly where they left it … leaving us to imagine the rest. Looking back, it was a tightly planned season, written from episode 5.1 on, with that final arc in mind right down to the final scene.

        From the Zoom on, the conflict is set in motion, and the race is on. Chuck begins to search for a dream home for Sarah, and Decker is plotting to take them down through a rogue Intersect. And so it goes. Chuck and Sarah keep planning and defining their future (and it’s beautiful and stunning and quite wonderful to watch), and the spy world keeps getting in their way and knocking them back. It’s neck and neck to the finish. In Bullet Train, as they are only a few kilometers away from the prize, the spy world seems to deliver the fatal blow to our heroes and their future, a future which by then is pretty well drawn for us.

        Having laid out their future, all Fedak needs to do (in his mind, not necessarily ours) is to get Chuck and Sarah far enough for us to know that they will be okay. Obviously, he thinks he did that. Some fans agree. Some of us think he didn’t get them quite far enough.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah exactly, they sort of set up the “what comes next” all season long. And then tried to tie the end back into it so we’d know they’d won and they’d made it. It only breaks down because they didn’t go quite far enough to show that tie back in to the prelude/postlude for many of us.

      • revdr says:

        That’s the thing though; why should it have to be left to our imagination? Where is the fairness in that? Like I’ve said before all we wound up with essentially was just another “to be continued”. No real resolution, just unanswered questions and a hope that everything would be alright. Had that began the memory suppression story started sooner maybe we could have gotten that extra scene or two showing us something beyond hope.

      • atcDave says:

        revdr I completely agree they failed by ending it a beat too soon (at least). But I can still sort of see what they were trying to do. And even if it fails to completely satisfy, I can grudgingly see what I think I was supposed to see.

      • thinkling says:

        I hadn’t really thought about it, until the middle of this discussion, but the final shot in Zoom is a poster for the whole season. Chuck and Sarah, standing within reach of their dream house, and the spy world, lurking closer than they realize, keeping them from it. I don’t know if the imagery was intentional or not, but that’s S5 in a snapshot. And if that shot is the poster for S5, then Sarah’s pep talk to Chuck moments before is its sound bite.

      • revdr says:

        The sad part about that Thinkling is that you are absolutely right. But unfortunately, that is the point. Everything that they both want, right there in front of them, just out of reach. And in the end, it’s still there; journey incomplete. You know that they’ll get there someday, you just don’t know when. TO BE CONTINUED! I would have loved for this show to have gone on forever, but all good things come to an end, and while I like to think that I have as much of an imagination as anyone and believe in Chuck and Sarah and what they mean to each other what we got in the end, hope not withstanding was a stunning salute to the Neverending Story. That was decidedly unfair.

      • thinkling says:

        Revdr, I might say incomplete story. I don’t mind the feeling of never-ending, as long as the manifest story stops in a good place. The beloved “and-they-lived-happily-ever-after” ending is never-ending, but in a good way. Chuck’s ending didn’t get us all the way to the good place, leaving the “happy” part (of the Happily Ever After) up in the air for too many people.

      • John says:

        Lucky for us, Thinkling already wrote the continuation of the story after the screen went to black so we’re okay, right?
        Right?
        Please tell me I’m right.

      • revdr says:

        I agree. Totally.

      • thinkling says:

        Ah, one other detail. The end, as you say, circled back to CS not yet moved into their dream home. But the lurking cabal and the danger are defeated and gone. That’s a pretty big difference. So they’ve circled back to Sarah’s words, being there for each other when things are tough and working through things together. And we see that playing out on the beach.

        … Just not far enough, I know. But that’s the intent. Like Dave said, we can grudgingly (rather than joyously) see what we are meant to see.

      • atcDave says:

        Thinkling’s version was always official in my mind!

      • thinkling says:

        Thanks John. That was my intent. 🙂

      • revdr says:

        John, if that helps for you to find closure that’s great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for me. While I loved Thinkling’s story, I never use fan fiction to finish a story that’s already been told. I guess that I just need to be hit over the head. I will never like the way the series ended. I felt cheated. It never was that I didn’t believe that they find their way back to each other. I just didn’t see it.

      • I agree that their handling of the intersect is the weakest part of the show. The idea that the CIA would only have one physical copy of the intersect at the end is just absurd. And really, I wish Chuck hadn’t downloaded it again in Goodbye (my biggest problem with that episode. But with that said, it doesn’t matter much in S5 because the protagonist doesn’t have it.

        What I like much, much more than the execution, was the idea of the intersect morphing into Chuck’s enemy. Chuck really is a superhero story, and the idea of a hero being forced to face an evil incarnation of his own power is always awesome – think Venom in Spiderman or Zod in Superman. I think it had potential, especially with a more threatening villain than Quinn, to be a really cool concept. I can imagine a cool alternative ending where Chuck, sans intersect, would have to take down an agent driven mad by the intersect, using his own experience to thwart it.

        Alas. Perhaps in a movie.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s really a solid idea for a movie Arthur. Chuck vs The Intersect Incarnate.

      • Have there been any rumblings about a movie at all? I’m pretty solidly in the never-gonna-happen camp at this point.

      • atcDave says:

        No rumblings. I’m still betting it will happen. But I wouldn’t hazard a guess on when.

      • revdr says:

        I don’t see a movie happening any time soon. On the creative side most have more than one project (Fedak at least 2 and Schwartz the same number). Plus there’s the demand for one. We’ve talked about the possible success or failure of the Veronica Mars movie in March being a contributing factor in getting a Chuck project off the ground. I do know that there is already a VM web series slated to begin after the movie. I would welcome any Chuck movie (or mini-series) or whatever. I’m sure we all would.

      • Whatever it is, I hope Schwartz isn’t involved. I’m convinced he was the main voice against putting Chuck and Sarah together, and for wt/wt. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as soon as he left the show, Sarah and Chuck became completely inseparable.

      • atcDave says:

        Amen to that Arthur.

        And just to be clear, I think JS did a lot to establish the show. I think he was CF’s mentor in the first couple years and had a major impact on the shape of the show we love. But I strongly suspect that most of what I dislike about S3 is the result of JS staying on a season too long. Based on what I’ve seen of CF’s work I don’t believe he would have delivered such a troublesome product if he had been calling the shots at that time.

      • revdr says:

        I don’t know guys. I actually think that it was CF who wasn’t as aware of the strength of the Chuck/Sarah dynamic. He has as much as said so over the course of the seasons. If you go back and look at some of JS’ other works (especially The O.C. and Gossip Girl) he made a point of ending those shows without ambiguity (not to well at times; especially G.G.). But, he went out of his way to bring closure to those shows. CF on the other hand, was proud of the roadblocks that they created to keep them apart and was especially proud of the end (once more with feeling…”how great is it that they get to fall in love all over again”?). Me, I would be leery of his involvement beyond the producing stage. If he writes it I’d be very wary of the outcome.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh I blame CF for the end. But I blame JS for S3, which is a far, far greater crime in my book!

      • Well rev, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that, since anybody who loved the ending simply won’t come to the same conclusion. I would say, though, that Goodbye is only one example of an ending he wrote. Push Mix and Other Guy, after all, ended in pretty much the same way, yet people liked those endings. (Ring II and Cliffhanger functioned more as hooks for the next season than possible endings)

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur I’ve always said only Cliffhanger was a completely acceptable ending. Its the only one that left everything in a good place with nothing really compelling looming. Apart from from my pure desire to see more Chuck, that would have been an excellent stopping point.

      • thinkling says:

        Arthur, I’m between you and Revdr. I’m not as grumpy about the finale as he is, but I’m far from sunny about it, as you are.

        I see Goodbye as very different from any other Chuck (potential) finale. In Push Mix and Other Guy and Cliffhanger, Chuck and Sarah were in a definite, well-defined good place. Other Guy … definitely together, no more doubts or delays. Push Mix … engaged and happy about it, no more obstacles. Cliffhanger … well, nothing is happier than that wedding … an unequivocally joyous, happy ending. Goodbye … hopeful, victorious, and reassuring, but they have a journey to go before they are the happy couple they were on the Bullet Train. The effects of the heart-wrenching tragedy still hang over them; and we mourn what was stolen from them, even as we trust in their love and breath a sigh of relief that the healing has begun.

      • Dave, I always like Push Mix way better than Cliffhanger (or Ring II) as an ending. It just felt like it was a natural place to part with the story. Cliffhanger, to me, was ruined by the Morgansect ending, and I didn’t really enjoy the wedding anyways. I much prefer Other Guy/Push Mix/Goodbye: kiss and fade to black. There just something more wistful about it. I’m not saying your objectively wrong about Cliffhanger’s merits, just that it’s a matter of taste.

        Thinkling, I don’t disagree. That Goodbye was different than Fedak’s other endings was the point I was making.

      • anthropocene says:

        I think Push Mix is most comparable to, and a good standard of comparison for, Goodbye—and here’s why. In the arc preceding Push Mix, we had Chuck ready to propose and Sarah ready to say yes—and then the final battle with Volkoff-Dark Sarah episodes intercede. In the arc preceding Goodbye, we had Chuck and Sarah ready to leave the dangerous side of the spy world and move their business out of Castle (into a bullding with big windows—literally out of the dark into the sunlight). And then the last Intersect and Quinn intercede. Push Mix gave us an artsy, dialogue-free, minimalist—but completely unambiguous—ending, showing Sarah embracing Chuck as the scene fades out.

        Goodbye’s ending was similar, and as I’ve contended, it could have been a wholly unambiguous callback to Push Mix if only we’d seen Sarah throw her arms around Chuck, or perhaps knock them both awkwardly to the sand in her enthusiasm to keep kissing him (a last bit of slapstick?) as the scene and the series fade out. Then, there’s no question that Sarah feels something and she loves him. Just that would have been more than enough of a happy ending for me. I realize that such a scene could be construed as a successful “magic kiss,” but far better for the fandom to be debating that question, instead of the question of Chuck and Sarah even staying together.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I really don’t have many complaints with Push Mix, that is a strong episode and could have worked as a finale. The main thing against Other Guy is just that I disliked S3 so much, and things were finally back on track, it would have been a shame to stop then! The main episodes I would have disliked as finales are Ring and Ring II. Both ended with just too much hanging, too much unsettled. As for Cliffhanger, Morgansect is such a nothing to me it doesn’t register as either a hook or a burden, it’s just a punch line. And I did really like both the wedding and the practice vows, so it ended on a very pleasing note for me. Goodbye I’d rank as a solid episode, but I really wanted something more, so very much, that it doesn’t really satisfy me as a finale.

      • atcDave says:

        Anthro excellent comparison of those two episodes!

        And of course I agree completely about the very end. Such a small thing could have changed a lot of moods I think!

  10. Just finished rewatching the show on Netflix (watched it broadcast the first time around, but missed season 5 due to schedule change – Chuck’s and mine). Was sad to come to the end, hungry for more, found you guys! Yay! Glad I caught you just as s5 rewatch begins. I will rewatch it with you as I am somewhat ambivalent, but want to be positive, and hope rewatching with you will help!

    • atcDave says:

      Well Padfoot its always great to have a new voice in the discussion, so welcome!

      I expect we’ll have a great time with the re-watch the next few months, whether we’re happy or grumbling.

  11. This is in my top third of Chuck episodes, and comfortably, too. I just think it’s perfect. Morgan is hilarious, and Chuck’s transition into spy boss goes off with just enough hitches to make it completely believable.

    I love the callback to Chuck staying in the van in the main mission, only for him to save the day at the end. It’s a great way to illustrate both how far Chuck has come, and how he’s stayed the same in all of the good ways – still charging into the thick of the action.

    There’s just so much comfort among the cast in this episode, from the Morgan-Sarah “spy five” to the Ellie/Chuck moment, to Morgan sitting down to talk to Chuck about internet withdrawal. And, of course, Chuck’s T.I.T.S. See the dots? My favorite aspect of Seasons 4/5 is how much the show is forced to lean on its cast, and Zoom is no exception to that role. Just a light, fun episode that hits on absolutely all of its cylinders.

  12. Christopher says:

    While shoveling the snow off my driveway, I began to think about Chuck, Sarah and the entire series of Chuck, and realized something. Sometimes when it comes to storytelling writers like to leave the audience wondering, make our own theories come to life if you will.
    For four years we had the journey of Chuck and Sarah getting married and build what I like to call a real relationship on screen.
    Hollywood has a tendency to make love stories become fairy tales, in which the lovers overcome every kind of obstacle. Chuck and Sarah do overcome, but sometimes at a cost. They lose themselves in thinking they know what the other wants, and as Morgan said “They are crap communicators.” It is up to use as the audience to know this, but for the characters, it is what makes the journey so satisfying at the end.
    I know the show is called Chuck, and we know that Chuck is the focal point, but after 6 re-watches I have come to the realization. It is deeper than just Chuck. It is about how three people from two very different worlds grow together and needing each other to be able to live.
    Chuck: A man who had no direction, lack self esteem, and always put others before himself. He allowed everyone to tell him how to live and where he should be.
    Sarah: A Spy who was in need of a change because after the baby incident and Bryce getting “killed” she started to wonder about her chosen field of work. A woman in search of a family to call her own, and she has by accident
    And finally
    Casey: A NSA Eraser if you will. The man with ice running through his veins begins to feel normalcy through Chuck and finally his daughter. A father figure to Morgan, and finally able to find his calm.

    Love has beauty when everything is against them and still they find the desire to be together. The government, Bryce, Shaw, Quinn and Volkoff almost prevented it. However, love overcame it. Memory loss and break ups came at the in opportune time. However, love overcame it.
    We all can say what was great, morbid, do without, but the end result was what mattered. Where we began is where we ended on the beach.
    Sometimes where you started is where you will end up. When love is real, love overcomes even the worst situations. Covers become covers of feelings, and what may be the right thing to do as Bryce said to Chuck may be true, but as in Honeymooners: “you can be on the run, but you can’t run from yourself.” For Chuck and Sarah, each other was what they were running from. Casey was running from friendships connections with others..
    The journey is worth wild when we see growth and some things remain the same. We needed Chuck to be the buffoon at times to showcase Sarah’s feelings and protectiveness, and we needed Sarah to be in full Agent Walker form to be told to go home I Insist or we need to break up our fake relationship in order to get the Sarah the woman out..
    Or your dad sins are his not yours. As was the case for Chuck returning to Stanford, and later finding out that Jill was Fulcrum. The common theme throughout the series was “We are better as at team,” until one of them goes rogue.
    Even when they went rogue the team came together. Love overcomes protocol, orders, and missions. What would Chuck do becomes a mindset for both Sarah and later Casey. Carmichael becomes an even better spy with emotion and the intersect Especially, when you see your love dying before your wedding day. Love overcomes.

    With expectations comes disappointment with regards to Sarah and Casey letting people in. Bryce and Shaw for Sarah and Ty Bennett and Keller for Casey. Relationships are a liability but love overcomes when love is real.
    WT/WT often leads to poor decisions and impulse reactions. Hence Prague and Barstow. As much as we loved what happen in the hotel room at Barstow, I feel it was too soon. Prague was a blessing in disguised. The impulse to run by one side is ideal for the one side, but what would the other side be giving up. Sarah and Chuck were not ready at the time. Three simple words and honest feelings were what brought them together. I love you-American Hero and The Other Guy. No covers, no lies, Just like I said Love overcomes. A kiss, A beach and Honesty but most importantly love

    • atcDave says:

      Some really excellent thoughts there Christopher. I completely disagree about Barstow and Prague, but otherwise very well put.

      • revdr says:

        I’m with you on Barstow and Prague Dave. Sarah was fully committed before Barstow. When she told Chuck to throw his away watch there was no turning back for her. She what she wanted, and if she had been given about a minute more at the wedding reception before they were given the news about Bryce, Chuck would have known it too. Plus, she was devastated when Chuck rejected her in Prague….I was too.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah we’re totally on the same page on this one rev!

    • joe says:

      Christopher, that was a great comment. You remind me a lot of where I was about five years ago. You have to write about those themes as much as I have – I can tell.

      I love those characters. But you know as well as I that the important things were the stories about friends, family, trust, love and even growth that came out one way or another in nearly every episode. For me, that’s the clear proof that the show was always a cut above.

      • Christopher says:

        The Impact of a story is filled with themes and how you read into those themes can vary by personality. For example, we disagree with Barstow and Prague. Sarah was committed I won’t doubt that, but if we are going to use the watch as a barometer as proof then we can take it further back to Marlin, when she was ready to pull her weapon on Long Shore.and getting the information on Chuck’s dad. Here is another line

        Jill: I care about Chuck
        Sarah: Me too
        Sarah: It is my job to protect him…from anything

        Whatever the case maybe. They still were not over with the elephant in the room. They Originally thought that they would have to give something up in order to be with each other. Sarah was afraid by being with Chuck they would bunker him or be reassigned, which was the right feeling, but would that stop love–It certainly did not in Phase Three or The Tooth.

        See what I am getting at here is until they allowed love to do its thing and stop letting their brains think for the heart then they were going to stay course with WT/WT.

        Its like Chuck said in the season 2 finale when Morgan was going to Hawaii:

        Chuck: Follow your heart Morgan, our brains only mess things up.

        With regards to Prague—- I have to be honest I hate Pink Slip. I sometimes skip it to not endure such tortures. However, I do like Chuck in a beard makes him look distinquished.

        Prague is a problem that really didn’t end until American Hero, and I am actually right now going to defend Shaw and what he brought to the show

        I love Shaw, in fact I wrote before the spy that Chuck became in the second half of season 3 was because of Shaw.

        Here is an example
        Daniel Shaw: I think we can all agree that this team has been dysfunctional for the last two years. And I think I know what the problem is. The problem is them.
        [Indicates Walker and Casey]
        Sarah Walker: What? What does that mean?
        John Casey: It means that he’s a moron.
        Daniel Shaw: Chuck, they coddle you. You could be a great spy, but they won’t let you evolve.
        or
        Daniel Shaw: Go ahead pick up the phone…Just know each time you do he will never become a spy…and puts his life in danger—–Harsh but true just look at what happen in Fear of Death.

        Shaw wanted Chuck to succeed as a spy—-which is what happen and Chuck was the one who took him down in the end.

        Daniel Shaw may have gotten in the way of Chuck and Sarah, but guys a woman could be with someone and still be in love with someone else, and I can tell you this how truly committed to Shaw was Sarah when each time she got to kiss Chuck she went for it.

        Remember Shaw was a good guy until the ring showed him the video—So thank the Ring for Chuck and Sarah getting together

        to me Quinn did more damage to Sarah and Chuck than Shaw ever did.

      • atcDave says:

        What’s “realistic” never enters the discussion as far as I’m concerned. It’s entertainment, if it fails to entertain it has failed at the very reason for its existence. And that’s what S3 was to me. It carried wt/wt PAST the breaking point. It took it to the point where both main characters were made to look like idiots. They were no longer characters I cared for or would root for. Realism aside, it utterly failed me as entertainment. That’s why over 40% of respondents to our poll right after it ran claimed to hate that story arc.

        When one’s continued enjoyment of the show hinges on trying to forget a particular arc ever even happened it is not a good sign; and yet, that’s exactly where I am.

        We’ve had these S3 discussions a million times, and this thread is not the place for it. But suffice to say, S3 is where they came closest to loosing the audience. For more in depth discussion look at either the S3 rewatch posts or the alternatives posts that ran from March to June of 2013.

      • revdr says:

        Christopher; I wont go so far as to say that I loved (or even liked) Shaw. but are right in saying that he was a necessary evil. He did indeed help to guide Chuck that he wanted, and needed to be and, like you I didn’t like Pink Slip. I don’t think that any of us did. I fact the first 12 episodes of s3 were bad, but necessary. And American Hero forced Chuck to finally man up and fight for the love of his life. Prague though show me that Sarah was willing to chuck (no pun intended) it all for love. Even before Barstow Sarah was clearly in love: that scream in First Date chilled my bones; the expression of hopelessness (and helplessness) in Best Friend when she thought that Chuck was in the car; my heart broke for her. The decision for her to run away with him was easy at that point…Barstow/Prague…take your pick. Shaw wasn’t perfect however. Because even before he found out about Sarah he was clearly bent on revenge (that wedding ring was a tell tale sign. So yes, he did help Chuck, but even he knew that Chuck and Sarah’s bond was strong otherwise, he wouldn’t have felt the need to ask her if she was still in love with him. For Sarah, Shaw was just her vain attempt not to be hurt again.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh c’mon. “Necessary” is not a reasonable conclusion. Its fiction. The story can be told a million ways. Shaw was an offensive devise that nearly ruined the show and the characters. He was as necessary as the stomach flu.

        Its one thing to say a story was needed to be told to show Chuck’s transition into a professional agent. Some way give him more maturity. Even that I’m not 100% on board with. I think the show and characters would have worked quite nicely with Chuck as a planner, puzzle solver and tech guru with minimal physical capabilities. Perhaps he needed some wisdom and experience, but that also could have been written any number of ways without the idiocy of the overlapping triangles. In fact, I think Chuck grew more both before and after S3 than he did during. Shaw took far more away from the character and show than he ever added. He was a disaster and waste of time.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah Dave; you may be right. Once Chuck decided to embrace the intersect (and really he did that by uploading 2.0 in Ring) he was only his way to maturing as a spy. Sure, training was going to be necessary, but he showed that he could rise to the occasion when Devon was in trouble. Shaw was a stiff from the beginning and the “love trapezoid” was indeed a nuisance and a terrible plot device. But enough about that painful period.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah that I’ll agree with rev.

  13. revdr says:

    Terrible typing…sorry.

    • joe says:

      Yeah, to this day I wish that WordPress provided a mechanism for editing. It does, but it costs and we’ve always been a non-profit organization around here. Sorry ’bout that, chief.

  14. Christopher says:

    Ok, I sparked a flame with Dave about this subject of Shaw and I understand the hatred for him, and the best thing about this blog is we all agree to disagree on various subjects when it comes to Chuck. We disagree on Shaw and that is fine. I do understand that it is entertainment, but like your argument for hating the intersect 2.0 is the very reason I like Shaw. Ok, maybe love Shaw was a bit much, but the end result remains although Chuck was maturing at that point in the story. He still was struggling with his emotions and getting the intersect to work.
    Shaw was not interested in the man Chuck, he wanted the intersect working. Under Shaw tutelage he was working hand in hand with the intersect and emotions.
    This is how the team was treating Morgan, you have to let him out of the car in order for the intersect to act properly. How could Chuck forget that. It was only a 2 years ago that he was asking for the same thing.
    Prague destroyed Sarah and crippled Chuck, and to Sarah’s own admission in Honeymooners she didn’t want him to give up something that he really wanted. Was this a lie than?
    Now on to my other point—it is entertainment, but for me the emotion rollercoaster can be much when it’s the same thing like Chuck only getting romantic interests that become girlfriends. Hannah, Jill, Lou. During this whole time Sarah flirted with Cole, but never pursued it.
    She doesn’t cheat on her cover boyfriend.
    Now I am going to talk about the 2 triangle that I didn’t like, and bare with me I will explain. I have with my wife.
    The whole Jill/Chuck/Sarah/Bryce thing killed me because Chuck was jealous of Bryce and Sarah which is understandable, but how could Sarah then get jealous of Chuck doing the same thing that she did. It is the classic what is good for me is not good for you cliche, but I digressed we are in season 5 and I just have some much to say

    The misery ark for me however is the last two episode of the series. All that work to get them together the ups and downs to drive a wedge between them by memory loss is really bad decision making in my view

    • atcDave says:

      My starting point is just that I categorically dislike love triangles as a story telling device. I could accept Jill and Bryce as they were woven in to the fabric of the show. Lou made some sense for where the characters were at the time (I still dislike the character and story, but it doesn’t anger me); and Cole registered as pretty much a zero in the triangle department. But for me (and many others), any use of a triangle post Colonel can only make the main characters look like idiots. I’ve mentioned before; Hannah could have been a good fit for Chuck earlier in the series, but never after Colonel. Shaw was just a disaster. Nothing like a poorly written and poorly cast character to compliment a poorly conceived idea…

      Now actually I don’t “hate” the 2.0. It never would have been my first choice on how to tell the story, but I’m perfectly willing to go along for that ride. In that regard, the 2.0 is completely different from the S3 fubar which I cannot tolerate. And it really is a variety of issues that make S3 unacceptable; but the bottom line is Chuck and Sarah giving up on each other. And it was done in such a way to make both them look like complete idiots (OOC idiots too, they were simply unrecognizable from the previous, or subsequent seasons). THAT matters more to me than any details of the extraneous characters, good or bad.
      I would rate the amnesia arc closer to the 2.0 as a story concept. Never my first choice, but it was well enough executed and I can finally accept it.

      • I’m with you there. I didn’t even like Bryce and Jill. The problem with the love triangle, in general, is that it makes the final love story feel less authentic. If you begin a movie with one, that’s one thing. But for a show like Chuck, each Bryce, Jill or Shaw is just another blow to the relationship that’s foundational to enjoying the series. Another reason why I’m pro-Fedak and anti-Schwartz: that method of storytelling completely disappeared the moment Schwartz left the show.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah, we’re 100% on the same page there Arthur.

  15. Christopher says:

    Dave,
    I agree with you about Hannah, I find her to be better then Lou, and I feel Hannah threatened Sarah more then Lou. Here is why. Lou never made it to Chuck’s apartment. Jill did but its not the same as sitting at a dinner table with Elle and Devon. This struck Sarah hard because as you guys said before. Sarah realizes that she belong there and it hurts.
    I think Push Mix was well done and it showed how masterful Chuck has come at being a spy. How he was able to use his father’s equipment to lore Volkoff was brilliant and by far his best plan of the series. Jeffster’s Push was comical, and finally the interaction of Alex and Casey is priceless.
    In regards to Cliffhanger, I love it because its rampage Chuck, and it is nice to see. Love has a way to make even the non violent types become violent when it is your only option

    • atcDave says:

      She was better except she was too late. Ultimately Hannah mostly serves to make Chuck look like a cheap slime ball. All the way from Helicopter where Chuck bashfully thanks Sarah for a visit to his workplace to be examined by a doctor as the “best, only second date he’s had in years” to sleeping with Hannah on a first date just a couple weeks after telling Sarah he loves her… Ugh. Makes me sick. Not the Chuck I signed up for…

  16. revdr says:

    Well Chris; we all know that the thing with Bryce was not just jealousy, but a hatred that ran pretty deep. After all, this is a guy who got him kicked out of Stanford and then slept with his first love. Bryce was the bane of his existence. So to find out that Bryce sent him and stuck him with the intersect and further, Sarah, the love of his life, also had a thing with Bryce only exacerbated that situation with him. Then, up pops Jill. Chuck had at that point had never had any closure with Jill and was, until he met Sarah, still pining for her. It was in fact his reconnection with Jill that finally made Chuck realize that his love for Sarah, as impossible as it seemed at the time, was strong. As far as Sarah’s jealousy was concerned I think that it was more about a love that could never be realized for obvious reasons. Sarah may have been in love with Chuck at that point but she could never act on it (“I’m in love with Chuck Bartowski, and I don’t know what to do about it”). She wanted for Chuck to be happy, but she didn’t want him to get hurt either, and Jill had already hurt him once. After all, she was sworn to protect him, from anything. That was a trapezoid based more on circumstances both past and present and they just collided with one another. Sarah did make some choices to help Chuck (to a point, so did Casey) because she feared that he would be locked away, but once the intersect was removed, Sarah had to make a choice. For her, it was the first time that she had to choose between love and duty. In Prague, it was the first time Chuck really had to face that choice. He wanted it all, and in his mind embracing the intersect was his way of achieving it. Sarah inspired him to a higher calling. The real trapezoid for both of them always seemed to be love and the job. That’s just my opinion.

    • Christopher says:

      Revdr,
      I liked your post, good point on love and job. I think the perfect image of that was the scene in Colonial, after Orion took out the original intersect and behind Sarah and Chuck the explosion. Almost like there goes their dream of being together. up in smoke.
      Question for everyone? Do you guys think that if Chuck was on a network station rather than NBC it would of survive. For example, if USA had Chuck that it would of went longer. I mean the problem with network TV is that they don’t let shows evolve anymore. CBS allowed CSI to evolve and look how long that last.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s a tough question Chris. We’ve poked around at this before, obviously there’s no definitive answer.
        But I’ll start by saying I think either USA or ABC would have been a better fit from the start. The show simply felt more like programming on those two networks. The challenge with ABC is just that their expectations for ratings are much higher than NBC’s; although more network viewers to begin with, and more viewers interested in Chuck-like shows we might have achieved MUCH better numbers. Of course if Chuck could have achieved success at ABC it could have meant bigger budgets all the way through to the end too.
        USA is sort of a different case. Viewership and budgets are both lower. And since they use 16 episode seasons we would have needed six seasons just to get as many episodes as we did from NBC. USA also tends to micromanage their shows more than NBC does. At the time Chuck started they had what they called a “Blue Skies” philosophy in place that required more positive, upbeat story telling. Perhaps we would have avoided the misery arc entirely! But I do think the show would have been an excellent fit for for USA. Maybe as a companion show to Psych. I could easily see it running 8+ seasons in that environment.

      • revdr says:

        Thank for your kind words Chris. As to your question about a different network being a better fit for Chuck, I’m in a quandary as well. As you know the writer’s strike halted Season 1, and although ABC might have been a better fit, at the time they already had a quirky, different, critical darling in Pushing Daisies (loved that show). Now, it was a fairly easy choice to continue with both shows the following season given the low number of pilots available and the attention given to both. Chuck too had been a fan of the critics, so it was to NBC’s credit that they not only stuck with Chuck but gave the show a full season order, even scheduling 3D to follow the Super Bowl. I don’t think that ABC would have done that. Plus NBC was desperate for anything to click, having lost shows like West Wing the prior season (and Friends a year or so before that). And, if you recall, ABC dropped the ax quickly and hard on Pushing Daisies (and others) so we might have lost Chuck much sooner. And I totally agree with Dave about USA. Chuck would have had to have been a hit right off the bat (like Burn Notice) and I fear that the tone of the show might have been different.

      • atcDave says:

        I was actually thinking the show would have better with the USA treatment…

      • The Shawn/Jules relationship in Psych is ignored. For Chuck it would be Chuck and Morgan all of the time, with Sarah appearing less than Ellie. The Michael/Fiona relationship was destroyed and then hastily thrown together at the end of Burn Notice. Think Chuck vs Sarah and Chuck vs the Goodbye for a full season. White Collar doesn’t seem interested in a serious relationship for Neal. Covert Affairs is trying to destroy Annie/Auggie. I think last season was worse than Chuck season 3 on the relationship front and the whole season was pointless if you figure Henry Wilcox could have been assassinated at any time (which is what my family kept saying, “Why don’t they just shoot him?”) And these are all shows I like.

        I’m glad we never had to trust USA with Charah.

      • Duckman says:

        With regard to the network’s role in the success of the show, I felt something at the time that I’ve never seen discussed. I was an enthusiastic but in no way a hard core fan when the show was live. It was the only show I would try to watch on purpose, appointment tv as they say, but I never went online or checked into the names in the credits. It seemed to me at the time that it was almost a crapshoot as to whether the show would even be on when I tuned in. I felt they would have been better served repeating a couple episodes between breaks in new ones instead of seemingly randomly preempting the show. I’ve always felt they could have built a larger base by simply running the show at the same time every week. I’ve never researched the actual airdates but it seemed like a lot of gaps. My buddy even mentioned that it felt like nbc was trying to kill the show.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I am now, but USA has abandoned the “Blue Skies” ideology.

        I actually think Psych is an excellent parallel to Chuck. You described it very well, but then it always was a buddy show at heart. There happens to be an occasionally sweet romance that is a “B” plot, but the show is about Shawn and Gus.
        Chuck just flips the relative importance of the romance and bromance.

        I’m not sure what all the executive changes might be that led to the change at USA. Burn Notice just generally got darker over its last couple seasons; and you describe what happened with Michael and Fiona perfectly. I thought it was a horrible waste of a once great show and a once great romance.
        White Collar has obviously decided its not going to be a romance it all. Even worse to me, its not even a good buddy show anymore; Neal and Peter spend all their time scamming each other instead of actually busting bad guys. Its really lost its appeal to me.
        And ditto for Covert Affairs. Annie is no longer a character I can really even root for; so that’s now three USA shows we no longer watch. (okay, Burn Notice actually ended so maybe that’s not fair). But going back to the Monk era, I though USA had the best programming on television. And now they don’t (Psych is the only USA show we still watch). Of course neither does NBC…

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Duckman NBC made a few really questionable decisions with Chuck. To be fair, it was never an NBC show. It was show they bought from Warner Brothers. Now I don’t believe they actually tried to kill it, but I do think many network execs weren’t really committed to it the way they were to some of their own shows.
        I completely agree the decision not to air reruns in the normal Monday night slot was a mistake. It made the show much harder to follow. In the last couple seasons too many local stations started pre-empting the show for their own programming (WDIV in Detroit did this three times; and ran a new Chuck episode later, at 0200). And of course previews and other advertising support slipped badly in the last couple seasons.

        I think from the network’s perspective Chuck filled a slot at a time when network fortunes were at a very low ebb. They decided because of Chuck’s strong internet presence it was a show they could air and forget, and let the fans do all the promoting. And it sort of worked for them, until the last season when they changed the night with almost zero promotion. I encountered many former viewers who thought the show had ended after S4.

      • thinkling says:

        Jeff makes a fine point … *shudder.* Yeah, Dave, Monk was a golden era at USA. I bailed on Burn Notice before it got any worse. I’ve bailed on Covert Affairs, and have no desire to see a dark season. Never cared for Psych, and I’ve left White Collar for last resort viewing. Chuck is just unique. I don’t mind — or I should say, I even like some darker shows, like Alias, for example. I expect it. But I don’t like it when a lighter show goes dark, just to join the club.

      • atcDave says:

        I always think of that “going dark” as a sort of selling out. Like I can see some exec saying “all the big cable shows are dark, we should be dark too…” Except for Psych its happened to everything on USA (I understand Psych isn’t for everyone. Its very manic).

        Of course it was tried for one season on Chuck. I count us very lucky that they reconsidered.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, a lot of those shows sure turned out different from what I originally thought. Jeff, I sorta agree, but I gotta say that I really enjoyed Covert Affairs last season, even if Annie had Brunette hair (oh – have I mentioned that I have a thing for brunettes?). For me it came across a good relationship-crisis arc, which seems to be something the law or the constitution insists TV shows have. If it’s completely resolved when they resume, I’ll consider it well executed.

        Your family may be right about what they didn’t do to Henry Wilcox, however. 😉

        Burn Notice just confused me for the last two seasons. I couldn’t keep the list of bad-guys straight. You know who their best bad-guy/CIA agent was? John Mahoney, who also played Fraisier’s father for 11 years. Great job in an episode that also featured Alex Forrest.

        I think I wanted White Collar to be Bryce Larkin in New York. It was never a story about a romance; always about the bromance and there’s only so much you can do with that, I think. I still enjoy it, but I watch out of habit.

        I haven’t watched Psyche in a couple of years, except for that 2 hr. musical in December. It’s okay, but I can only take so much of their slap-stick. Maybe Ritalin would help them calm down…

      • oldresorter says:

        I view Chuck different than ALL shows I watch. The difference is in both chuck and Sarah. Neither deserved the pain. I’ll pick on two shows. Burn Notice, Micheal is a jerk, he deserved to be unhappy. Fiona put up with it, long before this season, so she too deserves the pain, she should have walked. In Covert Affairs, same with Annie is a jerk, and Augie put up with it. In Chuck, Sarah the first two seasons tried so hard to be true to Chuck (like Micheal and Annie) Sarah had the power, even at the expense of her career and a couple of pretty excitiing opposite sex temptations. The show hit it near pitch perfect those two seasons, even as many fans didn’t need the temptations, the temptations were legitimate. Even as Chuck strayed, Chuck was a “Chuck, be my boyfriend, for real, no faking, for real,” away from being Sarah Walker’s man. As Augie would be in the next ep of Covert Affairs if Annie asked.

        I think the fact the lead character didn’t have the power also was unique, and was cause for being less cavalier with relationships.

        I won’t talk s3 or how the entire show was wiped out by amnesia in the final two eps. But for most the rest of the show, the relationship was written well other than 3.1 thru 3.12, not to the ‘A’ level in those first two seasons, or the A+ level in Honeymooners, but a good solid B+ in the back half of s3, s4, and the first 11 eps of s5. As many have said, they could have done far worse, and many other shows have.

        Plus, there’s the whole Chuck is the only comedy of those three shows. I think when you inicorporate so much comedy, you have to be careful about how the drama is used. That issue bothered me more than anyone on this blog I would guess. So that probably is more my issue than anyone elses.

      • atcDave says:

        It is interesting how much we compare Chuck to dramas not comedies. Obviously it was a mix, it had elements of both; but I think Chuck’s bait was comedy, the hook was the drama. But that hook often seems to mean we who took the show seriously often take it TOO seriously. ‘Cause, I’d never do that…

      • thinkling says:

        Good analogy, Dave … baiting the drama hook with humor. Maybe the glittery things attached to the hook was the spy/action/sci-fi/adventure stuff. And what a hook it was.

    • thinkling says:

      Great comments on the triangles and complexities of their relationship. I agree that in the first two seasons, the triangles were a catalyst for growth for CS … especially Sarah. After that, the trapezoid was merely a wt/wt device that didn’t serve the story at all, but rather the story was made to serve device. I elaborate on Chuck geometry here.

      My take on love and duty is quite similar to yours. I theorize that Sarah is trapped in an inescapable paradox. Desire wars with duty, and for they are paradoxically intertwined. She can’t really have both, nor can she have one without the other.

      Because she loves Chuck, protecting him — being his handler — is much more than duty. In that way her love and desires fuel her duty. Hence her protective warnings to both Lou and Jill.

      However, if she acts on her love in the real way Chuck wants, she will be reassigned and lose her connection to this man she wants. In that way her duty frames her desires.

      Until she chooses between duty and desire, she is trapped in this paradox. In Ring, she finally chooses love over duty. Of course other complications ensue, but Sarah has finally made her choice. She finally figured out what to do about it.

      • atcDave says:

        I do love that paradox of the first two seasons. I think it really brought a lot of energy and natural tension to the show. And I love how it carried over into a lot of early fan fiction too. That excitement of wondering what it take to break up that deadlock. What would get Sarah to finally choose love over duty. So many fans, so many fan fiction writers, postulating all the scenarios and possibilities. With both bad guys and the government as possible threats and Sarah in a hopeless impasse; just a dynamite set up. And as far as Ring it was just masterfully handled. “Take off your watch” still gives me chills; then “it is real” and the nod at the beach. Just wonderful television.
        Without getting in too much of an S3 rant, let’s just say I think they chose about the most disappointing and underwhelming scenario imaginable to shake things up post Ring. At least we got back to a good place later on.
        It was a roller coaster ride in several senses of the word!

      • candm3407 says:

        This is why I don’t buy into the I fell for you between the time you fixed my phone and started defusing bombs. I am not saying she didn’t have feelings already, but was in love no I don’t think so. The episode were I feel Sarah was ready to take a chance was The Ring I, Watch her eyes how she can’t keep her eyes off of chuck again on the beach. How she was more interested in Chuck than the wedding. The body language told me more than the spoke words.

        The Duty vs Love is a big issue throughout the series until the latter part of season 4, even after the other guy, they were still battling their feelings. Lies still was a part of the story. I was really down on Chuck not telling Sarah about the metal deterioration, and not about dreaming about Shaw being alive. I love Anniversary. I watch it all the time, but not telling Sarah about his search for his mom was still signs of not truly being a relationship. As Morgan said “Crap Communicators”

      • atcDave says:

        Oh I’m willing to believe she fell for him right away, its just she had no clue what to do about it for a long time. The first couple seasons really provided a tidy trap for Sarah, if she “proclaimed her love” for him she could be reassigned or out of a job. So first she has to make that decision that she loves Chuck more than her job. Then she still has to consider she might not be able to protect him as well if she suddenly found herself on the outside. A deleted scene from First Date (that I so much wish they had left in!) indicates she knew Chuck could have as much to fear from the government as from the bad guys; so loosing any sort of inside track was a real risk.
        And that’s all on top of the fact she actually did believe in the job she was doing.

        And not to mention she seemed to consider herself actually not good for Chuck either. So I think there were legitimately a lot of obstacles to overcome to get from “falling for him” right at the start, to openly pledging herself to him.
        It sure was fun in those first couple seasons watching Sarah put all of her passion into her job of protecting Chuck because she never knew what to say.

      • thinkling says:

        candm3407: I agree that the beach wedding was a defining moment, and “ready to take a chance” is a good way of putting it. But as Revdr said, it was the first time Sarah had to follow through with the choice. She was willing to make that choice as early as Marlin, then again in First Kill and Colonel, but she didn’t end up having to follow through. In those cases, something intervened to preserve the status quo. At the beach, she had to choose: CIA or Chuck… go or stay. I certainly don’t want to take away from that moment, though, because it was a beautiful … perhaps even more so as the culmination of so many other moments that came before.

        When Sarah said she fell for him after he fixed her phone, I think we’re intended to believe her. It’s a moment of truth and transparency. I don’t think that has to mean she was full blown in love with him on the first day, but she was captivated (it was evident in her face), and her feelings grew steadily from then on. We saw then as early as Tango. Ellie confirmed them in Sizzling Shrimp. Carina noticed them in Wookie. Other characters also confirmed many times, like Morgan, Bryce, Casey, and even Jeff.

        I would say she was in love with him by Truth, even though she wasn’t ready to admit it to herself until much later.

        The love v. duty issue was irrevocably settled from Honeymooners on. In Honeymooners they chose each other above all else. Yes, they both still wanted to be spies, but if it came down to a choice, they chose each other over anything else.

        I have to agree about lying Chuck… not likable at all and not good for a relationship, as Sarah must have clearly pointed out. I was a much happier camper once they resolved it in Anniversary (No secrets / no lies).

      • joe says:

        Dave, you just typed a very important word – passion. I’m not sure why, but that word has been coming up a lot in my thought processes lately. If you ask me what it is I like in about Chuck or about a particular song or about a particular work of art – or even about a particular person – I’ve come to understand that it’s passion. More than anything, that’s what I’ve been attracted to all these years, in women, music, art, even “mere” TV shows.

        I find it odd that I didn’t realize it before.

        It’s what I recognized in Chuck and Sarah, even before I knew it.

        Live and learn.

      • revdr says:

        You are right Thinkling; Sarah was forced to make a choice. Season 2 for Sarah was all about her journey towards just that. We knew in First Date that she loved him and the choice was there right away. The new intersect was nearly ready, and Sarah was scared to death. She was going to have to come to terms with what she was feeling, or run; and she didn’t know what to do. That it was destroyed was for her both a letdown, and a blessing. Sarah was at that point all about being in control, and those feelings were admittedly eroding that control. For her to say out loud that she had fallen for the nerd (“you’d be surprised”) in Cougars, even though it was to Heather Chandler in the heat of battle, was a huge step for her. Every episode that season brought her closer. That passion we saw in Colonel was real (love unspoken) and the removal of the intersect brought everything to a head. So for Sarah, to choose love was a life changing decision. That’s why it took her so long to say “I love you” in Tooth. Saying it out loud made it real.

      • revdr says:

        and Joe…..I couldn’t have said it any better!!!

      • thinkling says:

        Spot on, revdr. I love that line in Cougars. In fact I love Cougars, period. It’s always near the top of my short list.

        In the overall framework of their journeys, I see the first two seasons more as preparation and Ring as the beginning of their journeys. During the first two seasons, I think they were each realizing, then learning, and finally being persuaded that there was a destination worthy of the journey. There was some stunning growth and some movement, but up until the wedding, neither had a destination in mind — not really — so no journey. They were both mostly being pushed along by circumstances and other people. In Ring they both made radical decisions and changed the course of their lives, for themselves.

  17. candm3407 says:

    I agree with Dave
    The reason I brought up the network issue was because I marvel at the things FX does with its shows. They have different genres of shows and yet they allow the shows to develop and through time and patients the shows thrive. I am a big Sons of Anarchy fan and the way all the cast members are key to the story is very intriguing. Like Chuck, The entire cast is important no matter how small the role is. Even The League is successful, A simple concept with simple stories yet it is four years in the making. Than their is Archer, A comical cartoon with members from Arrested Development that make this cartoon worth watching. So if NBC allowed Chuck to develop more and K.I.S.S. than we would of gotten a season 6 and beyond.

  18. anthropocene says:

    Given how regularly Apple products appeared on “Chuck,” including the very funny use of a circa-1984 Macintosh as the interface to Intersects 1.0 and 2.0, I’d like to wish the Mac a very happy 30th birthday today!

  19. Christopher says:

    I agree Thinkling,

    To me truth is were we start to see emotions from Sarah regarding feelings. There three scenes that do it for me. The first was in the clostest when Chuck talks about how he likes the sweater with the blue buttons. She was pleased with that response.

    Sarah: “Ooh you like that one.” this the kind of response a woman interested in someone would response when a man likes something she wears. plus the comment about any potential interest would have to endure a interrogation to determine her motivation. Your a delicate peice of intelligence and need to be handled with care. This classic Sarah coveirng her feelings

    The second scene for me is in the parking lot seeing Chuck talk to Lou. You start to see the transition of seeing concern or realization this is my man talking to another woman. than later putting on a skimpy lingerie “for cover”

    and finally, the break up scene. She was expecting Chuck to kiss her.. that is why he get the what response from Sarah when he says “we need to break up” I agree with Joe when it comes to the song fits the scene “My heart is reeling” we later see her expressions when she sees chuck in the deli with lou. Pain, misery, and longing all at the same time. Her man is with someone else. She is not mad with him how can she be, she is made with the situation. Lou is the spark that ignites the fire in Sarah.

    Another Scene that came from Imported Hard Salami, When they were at the club–And Sarah goes in to interfer with the date. Its not what she says that I find intriguing its the stare she gives before she puts her head down into Chuck’s shoulder. It almost seemed like she was claiming Chuck at that point–and it was this scene I told my wife Chuck is never going to be with another woman—not with Sarah here.I always wondered what Sarah would of done if in fact they kept the love interested for the pilot. Would sarah go on a jealousy path then. What I am talking about is TPTB wanted to Chuck to be interested in someone at the club they went to on their First Date, but they left it out.

    The truth was the first episode for me in seeing the feelings from Sarah, especially the bed room scene when Chuck ask what are our rules with this cover– are we allowed to see other people.

    The network I think that works perfect for Chuck would of been SYFY. and as much as the show is a comedy. IT never was intended to be it was suppose to be action first with comedy added to it. Grant it most of the time it was a comedy.

  20. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Zoom (5.01) | Chuck This

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