Chuck vs. The Bearded Bandit (5.02)

It’s time to see if Carmichael Industries can actually be viable as a business. If the professional spies can sell themselves, if Morgan can be developed as an actual asset, and if the Buy More can actually carry its own weight when the first two questions turn out to be “NO!”.

After the jump, we’ll get into the second Morgansect episode.

Bearded Bandit checks in at 81st place. Not impressive. I don’t dislike the episode, especially not in hindsight; but I can easily say it made some of my post Season Four fears seem like a reality. That is, that Morgan, my least favorite of the show’s regular characters, was taking on a larger part in this last season than I ever wanted. It doesn’t help that when Chuck and Morgan are together, Chuck looks ineffectual and is steamrolled by his bearded buddy. So big part for Morgan, Chuck not accomplishing much, not a great episode.

In the grand scheme of things I no longer hold that against it, much. This is by far the biggest part Morgan will have all season long. And even in a weaker episode like this one there is still plenty to enjoy. For starters, I like how Chuck, Sarah and Casey all interact. There is trust and camaraderie here. It seems we don’t see as much of Chuck as leader; but Sarah is a clear power behind the throne and Casey shows both competence and loyalty. So my favorite moments here involve mostly Sarah and Casey. First really fun scene is Sarah’s meeting with Gertrude. Sarah is clearly sure of herself in her new role, or at least willing to play like she is. Casey’s recon of Wesley Sneijder’s hideaway is a fun scene, and a bit of a Jayne Cobb call back (love the hat!). Sarah and Casey’s chat while racing to the rescue is fun too, err, awkward funny… And I love the last Chuck/Sarah scene. Sarah knows exactly why Chuck would make a great handler and she’s not afraid to tell him!

Some of the Chuck/Morgan scenes are funny. Morgan is sort of the Intersect asset from hell. If Sarah thought Chuck didn’t listen, Morgan takes it to a whole new level. And he’s not too bright. Even the “Bandit” part makes me laugh. Do you think Morgan realizes “Bandit” is military slang for an enemy fighter aircraft? Yeah I didn’t think so. Its also pretty funny what an utter screw up Morgan is as a fighting machine. I think only his rescue back at the start of Zoom could be described as fully successful. In Bearded Bandit he almost gets offed by an unnamed thug with a shotgun, he destroys the guards protecting a federal witness, and he takes Chuck into a hopeless death trap. Well hey, its not like the team never screwed up before. But Morgan raises it to an artform.

This episode is interesting to me in the greater context. A deleted scene from Bullet Train tells us Sarah does ultimately download the same corrupt version of the Intersect that Morgan has. And no surprise, Morgan has started losing memories like Sarah will in that episode. But unlike Sarah, Morgan is losing his whole self to it. For all his shortcomings; Morgan is faithful, good natured and fearless. But as he uses the Intersect he becomes selfish and arrogant. Obviously we will deal with this more next week; but the corrupt Intersect seems to be corrupting Morgan thoroughly.

The “B” plot in this episode strikes me a pretty good one. Big Mike’s archaic commercial his wicked funny. And finding a new Buy More spokesman is just a great moment. It doesn’t really integrate with the “A” plot well, but it does provide plenty of Buy More comedy.

And I think I’ll leave this write up there. Even a weaker episode of Chuck, is still a very fun show. The next few weeks will get even better.

~ Dave

It’s Still Complicated

You want the good stuff
You want the big hit
The path that’s simple not complicated
Cause if you close your eyes then you won’t see
That it’s easier without complexity

Morgan: Burritos, Chuck? I’m so tired of running errands for that man’s stomach.
Chuck: Look, Casey means well.
Morgan: Yeah, but it’s not just Casey, dude. Okay? It’s Sarah too.
Chuck: What is that supposed to mean?
Morgan: It just means that – isn’t she the one who told you to be my handler in the first place?
Chuck: Yeah?
Morgan: Did it ever occur to you that she made you my little babysitter to distract you from the fact that you’re being sidelined too? I don’t know if you noticed, chief. You’re on a food run with me.

Indy steamrolls Chuck

Indy steamrolls Chuck

For a moment there I thought I was going to disagree with Dave. Morgan steamrolls Chuck? “Naw.” I thought at first. Morgan does lay a hay-maker on his buddy when he blurts out that Sarah is still handling him, and OUCH! That one lands right between the eyes. Then I realized that Dave has it exactly right – Morgan is steamrolling Chuck. That’s exactly what that exchange means.

The Bearded Bandit

The Bearded Bandit

That’s the way Chuck vs. The Bearded Bandit plays for me now; everything in there is darker and more foreboding than I originally thought and twice as meaningful to boot. Even the title, which I took to be a reference to Morgan’s ridiculous get up as he tries to emulate a comic book superhero (even as he insists on the other meaning of “bandit”) was just a minor sight-gag at first. Morgan forgetting Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker was cute, even funny at the time. Now, after we’ve seen it all, it’s not. It tells us that something is very, very wrong.

Karl Sneijder

Karl Sneijder

Although we see a complete story about the first big financial win for Carmichael Ind. Inc. (good thing Karl Sneijder, played by former Buffalonian Jeff Fahey, paid half up front!), the episode is much more the central, connecting bridge in the Morgansect arc and incomplete in and of itself. Even more importantly, it helps us to understand what happens to Sarah later.

And Casey too. When Bearded Bandit first aired I found myself rooting, a bit, for the return of Kathleen McHugh, or maybe even Ilsa Trinchina, into Casey’s life. Gertrude Verbanski came into the story unexpectedly. So I ask myself, what does she have that the others don’t?

Chuck: Okay. Who is she?
Casey: One of the KGBs most ruthless spies, ’till the fall of the Soviet Union. [spits] Then she went into the private-security game.

Not many people have disarmed Casey.

Not many people have disarmed Casey.

There’s only one real criterion in the list of “must haves” for any partner of Casey – she must be his equal. And who’d a thunk it coming from that testosterone-driven tranqenstein of an agent?

Verbanski: Ah, yes. Not many people have disarmed Col. Casey.

You bet. I love a good Casey backstory! Like Dave, I saw a little Jayne in Casey when he blew that duck-call.

Not Jayne and certainly not Duck Dynasty.

Not Jayne and certainly not Duck Dynasty.

Now, I’m a bit unusual in the fandom, in as much as I do appreciate (and even like) those moments where Chuck goes dark and everything seems hopeless. To me, those things elevate my joy and heighten my elation when we got to the outcome. Those moments are subtle in this episode and make me appreciate the technique more than I did before.

There’s one more thing that makes me want to place Bearded Bandit much higher than in the bottom 10 of my personal list of favorites. And no, it’s not the lack of episodes I want to put lower! It’s the marvelous depiction of Chuck&Sarah, the married couple. Ask me in 2008 how I wanted to see them, and this, the way we have it throughout S5, is exactly it.

The way it should be

The way it should be

Chuck: Hey, hey, hey. So, uh, quick question, since you’re here, heh. Did you ask me to be Morgan’s handler because you were trying to handle me?
Because if you don’t think I should be in the field, I just need to know that.
Sarah: No, no. I asked you to be Morgan’s handler because the job entails bringing out the best in somebody. And what better example for Morgan than you?
So, no, I’m not handling you, a) because you don’t need a handler anymore and b), because handlers can’t do this.

Oh man. Do you see it? Even there we have a foreshadowing, a hint of what’s to come. Chuck, you see, will have to become Sarah’s handler through their last five years of their real life, just the way Sarah was his through the last five years of their spy life.

So hold high how faint your reasons
That wind is calling my name
And I won’t wait
Or I’ll never get on

– joe


About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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222 Responses to Chuck vs. The Bearded Bandit (5.02)

  1. latetotheparty says:

    Dave and Thinkling;
    Well I’m glad I asked the question, and what a great response from you guys and the fan base. I appreciated all the feedback from everyone that had a view or opinion about my concerns on season five. I am feeling somewhat better but still have mixed feelings. However, I think it’s time to take Season Five out of its wrapper and give it a spin. After reading all your comments, and I do mean ALL; I’ve come away seeing a wide range of views and some reservations that mirror my own thoughts. This lets me know I’m not alone. I enjoy being part of this creative community with its friendly feedback. And while earlier (during the original viewing) I was not able to respond; now with this rewatch, I have a chance to be part of the active commenter’s. Once again Thanks

    • atcDave says:

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying the site Late! We always look forward to a good discussion, so don’t be shy.

    • joe says:

      What Dave said… Really! There is a lot in S5 that’s worth seeing just for it’s own sake. But if you really care for the characters (or, at least, what they represent for you), it’s time well spent.

      Just please don’t be surprised if you come to feel surprising strong emotions.

      • latetotheparty says:

        Joe, I have always been heavily invested in the show and it’s characters, Sarah mostly. I remember I would stay up late not being able to stop watching until I knew Sarah was out of harms way for that night. Since I was watching episodes on DVD, I never had to wait to see what the next episode brought. I’ve heard that the fans had to wait up to three weeks when it was first aired. The wait would have been a killer for me. In some ways watching on DVD made the misery arc so much easier to deal with.
        About strong feeling and emotions for this show, I’ve had them all and after getting through 3.0 I think I’ll be OK, but thanks for the heads up. That said with this bunch of writers and showrunners nothing would surprise me, but I would not rule out anger. P.S. if you could link me to a best/worst poll I would appreciate it. I have never seen the poll with all 91 episodes.

      • atcDave says:

        The worst break was from S2 to S3. We were first told it would be ten months! It was later shortened to eight; but still too long!

        We have linked the poll intermittently in our posts, but here it is again. Keep in mind, this is just from our site. As such its small set. It also means casual viewers who may like the show quite a lot, but never get on line are not represented. And we know fans here had a slightly different bias than fans at certain other sites. But I think this represents a good approximation of attitudes.

      • oldresorter says:

        I wish I could say I loved the end. I didn’t. I didn’t like the whole concept of Chuck vs Sarah, along with amnesia as a going away present to the fans. So, I’d give the last two eps a low grade, a D or F, Pink Slip, Mask, Fake Name low. The actual ending on the beach was a middle of the road ending, a C type ending. At the end they were together, and after teasing the Magic kiss theory for the whole ep, they kissed as the credits roll. Not a soul on the planet knows what happenned next cause the credits rolled, the show was over. So the interpretation of the final scene is left to the individual.

        Its funny, I disliked the last two eps, but in my mind, the magic kiss worked. I offer as my proof the kiss worked, the writers told us the kiss would work a couple of times in the final arc. But they also found reasons to not kiss to delay the suspense, much like a traditional wt/wt structure, say in s1 or s2. They end kissing for the payoff. Kind of a traditional end. With a bit of a cliffy. Just wanky enough to please the creative side of the writing staff.

        Why was anyone surprised?

        That’s all I got.

        Dave – if you read this. I saw I Frankenstein. Yvonne was a good solid B+, the rest of the movie, the script, and the acting, well it was not. Yikes!

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jason I know a lot of viewers had VERY negative reactions to the finale. While I’m not as extreme as you, I certainly wish the episodes had been very different. Here’s a good one; what if Sarah had overcome Quinn’s brainwashing even without her memories? That could have been a fun twist. Sarah rejoins her husband and Team B because she quickly figures out where her loyalties and heart lie, even if she can’t remember why. Then show us a more definitive return of memories over the course of the last episode. That sounds like fun to me!

        I saw I,Frankenstein too. I enjoyed it. Agree completely Yvonne was the best part, but wow is she getting slammed! Some of its ignorant; seriously I’ve seen critics complain she’s “too pretty” to be a scientist. Oi! The critic should be ashamed of himself! Talk about shameless prejudice! Maybe if they’d said too YOUNG for her position! But geez…
        But there’s no doubt its a pretty simple and silly script. Fun, but not the sort of thing to be taken seriously. More, “would you like some cheese with your popcorn?”

    • thinkling says:

      Yes, indeed, welcome to the conversation. You’re late but not too late. This is a fun season, and we’ll enjoy the last ride together through laughter and tears, rejoicing and commiserating. Sigh. The Chuck ride always ends too soon.

      • 08mansoor says:

        I binge watched chuck season 3.5-4 in a 2-3 day period and then I just completed season 1-4(starting over again) in a 4-5 day period thanks to the weekend. I could have easily completed season 5 as well, however I just couldn’t put myself through it. I seriously hated the last three episodes. I know that the majority of the people were okay with it, but it was like torture for me. I know the writers suggest that Sarah and Chuck will end up together again, and lets say we accept this. My ultimate problem is, does Sarah become the Sarah Walker we all learned to like? Does she recall all the awesome things she did and the evolution of her personality. The weird thing was that Sarah became like a monster in the last three episodes and she was never like that at all. In season 5 it shows an old mission she went on and it showed her softness for the child. She always seemed to want a normal life, even during her days as a ruthless spy. Because there was no clear ending and it is never known if she truly becomes the sarah walker from season 1-5 (not counting the last three episodes), I am truly disappointed with it. I pretty much am going to try and erase season 5 from my memory bank and try to avoid watching it. Even though there was some funny episodes in season 5. Had the writers not put the faulty intersect in Morgan and just would have made Sarah face Quinn early in the season, and Chucks main purpose would have been to rescue Sarah and make Sarah fall in love with him all over again and some how Sarah is able to get a magical flash and that would trigger her past experiences with Chuck, she would have become out an even better person and she would have been more appreciative of Chuck and thankful that Chuck kept fighting for her and he never gave up on her and somehow Chuck would have referenced his vows and he would tell Sarah “I will show you everyday how much I love you.” That would have made me enjoyed season 5 and it would have given me better closure. So I am really hoping a Chuck movie happens or even just a special 1 hour episode where they give us the necessary closure and truly a happy ending, no ambiguity endings.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I sure don’t think I would have enjoyed a whole season Chuck winning Sarah back, I think that already ran a season too long. Unfortunately the ambiguity they left us with is sort of as you say, we really can’t be sure exactly when/if Sarah’s memories come back or what impact that might have her personality and character.
        But I do think the overall situation is much better than you indicate. I never saw Amnesia Sarah as any kind of monster at all. In fact, early in 5.12 it looked like Chuck could have won her over again right there, the only thing stopping it was Quinn yapping in her ear, keeping her on his bogus mission. She took more extreme action against Chuck and Ellie later in the episode when Chuck’s actions seemed to verify the briefing Quinn had given her. Then she quickly readjusted and acknowledged her mistake when Quinn showed his true colors. No doubt I would have preferred the story if Sarah had figured it out on her own, but that isn’t a huge complaint of mine.
        From there, I think the progress is steady and consistent. She accepts Chuck as an ally and partner, and in the end recognizes he is the answer to her missing pieces. So I sure do wish they had shown us the next step, mainly because I firmly believe it would been wonderful. I would love to see a movie set a couple years later where we see Chuck and Sarah settled into a new life and career. Maybe raising kids as they run their cyber-security business. Whether Sarah has all her memories back, or regains them over the course of a later adventure, isn’t a huge issue to me. I mainly just wanted to see them happy together again.

      • 08mansoor says:

        dave, a whole season would be really long of chuck trying to help Sarah, however 3-5 episodes would have worked. I know I am in the minority, but the end is a big killer. Personally, I will not have closure with Chuck until there is a movie that comes out and gives us a clear happy ending. I hope they can make a movie happen soon(not three years down the road, but two years max). Its been two years since the series ended and there has been talks of a movie for over a year now, lets hope by 2015 they start shooting. If the years drag, then the characters will look a lot older and I do not want that. Do you think a movie is wishful thinking? Or is it a real possibility? Soon Zach and Yvonne will be doing TV roles and hopefully they will stop taking movie roles, so then they could have time to shoot a chuck movie. I wish we could set something up and ask Warner bros to make a Chuck movie happen.

      • atcDave says:

        You’re not in that much of a minority, many long time Chuck fans were so put off by that ending that they no longer can even tolerate any part of the show. One of the principals at this site (Amyabn) called it quits in part over dissatisfaction with the ending. I do think it was grossly disrespectful of a fanbase to end on such an incomplete note. But as I said. I have come to believe that they were right on the cusp of something wonderful, whether Sarah remembered all, or only remembered that she needed and loved Chuck isn’t as big a thing to me. But I do very much want to see a movie, in part because I’m among those who really needs to see what comes next.

        As far as the likelihood of it happening, I don’t really know. I am cautiously optimistic. I think Zach and Yvonne both know that their fans are eager for more. And I think they both know their fans will always be Chuck fans first and foremost. And I really think those are the two who matter most for getting something made. Warner Bros owns thousands of properties, they will make whatever they are convinced will make them money. They’re a business, so the bottom line is always the bottom line. There has been some talk about the studio wanting to wait on a Chuck project because of scheduling in foreign markets. I also suspect they are wanting to see what happens with the forthcoming Veronica Mars movie. How it does may determine a lot about what sort of project they might be interested in. If the movie does well, we might be able to push for Chuck on the big screen. If it fizzles, Chuck webisodes may be the best we can ever hope for. I think we will know a lot more in a few months. JS and CF (and others) would all have to sign off on it (everyone with ownership rights); but everyone with interests CAN just give a green light and be done. They are all replaceable. It is Zach and Yvonne who are the faces of the franchise and absolutely must be on board to get a movie made. Producers, writers, directors are all a dime a dozen (okay, exaggerating a little! But a competent professional could be a variety of individuals. Only the stars are actually irreplaceable). So ultimately, when and if a Chuck movie gets made will likely have more to do with Zach and Yvonne’s availability and enthusiasm than anything else. Perhaps the best we can hope for is someone with a great post-series script helps get Zach interested (Thinkling, Angus, Anthro,Jeff, are you listening?!)

      • revdr says:

        I have not hidden my distaste for the ending of the series, but, that being said. there are a lot of good things to be said about season 5. Some bad ones too. I will always think that TPTB gave us a huge raspberry at the end, but in between we got to see Chuck and Sarah married and happy, got to meet Sarah’s mom and even got Casey lovin’ in the mix. I will never like the ending, but I wouldn’t want a movie without some answers as to what happened between the beach and wherever they open . It wouldn’t be fair to just open with Chuck and Sarah with the house and kids without explaining how they got there. That’s the biggest problem with where they left it, no happily ever after, just a big when will they get it all together. I find it very difficult to watch the season knowing what’s coming at the end, but I’m ok with it until midway through Bullet Train. I have watched every episode of Chuck from the pilot through Cliffhanger at least 25 times (double that with seasons 1-2); season 5 not so much. I am re-watching right now for the discussion, but it gets painful and more difficult as we approach the end. I don’t like the ambiguity especially knowing that the prospects are iffy that we might not get to see Chuck, Sarah and the others in action again, and fan fiction will never give me closure, but it’s been 2 years, and her we are still talking about this incredible series.

      • atcDave says:

        Revdr I think it would be awesome to just start the movie with Chuck and Sarah in a happy house full of kids. Then fill in some of the blanks as they go, let us know how they recovered, how the memories came back. Maybe a few of those patented sweet Charah scenes where they’re on a date or home in bed and Sarah suddenly remembers something fun; or something terrible and we see Chuck shuffling off to the couch with a pillow and swollen red cheek…

        But I sure don’t want something with 45 minutes of angst and melodrama before we get back to a happy place. That I wouldn’t be very enthused about!

      • revdr says:

        I’m with you Dave, and that’s pretty much what I was shooting for, something along the lines of the vow rehearsal in Cliffhanger. A few flashbacks would probably work for me. To me, it wouldn’t be fair, or realistic, to have them at that happy place without some explaining as to how they got there. It doesn’t have to take up half of the of the movie, but some answers would be reasonable. I don’t want an origin story, just give me what you should have given me at the end of Goodbye.

      • 08mansoor says:

        you are so totally right, and Dave thats what I was hoping for. They could start the show in a happy setting and that would be great. Then within the first 20 minutes or less they give us the necessary flashbacks. I am not sure how a movie would work in the first place, because the episodes are 40 minutes in length and a movie would be twice that in length. I dont want Chuck and Sarah to have kids, until the end of the movie where it says 5-10 years later and Chuck and Sarah have a actual complete family, and they live happily ever after and they have a great charah moment to close. After all they pretty much are the show. I suppose they could get Shaw to be a villian and have him kidnap general beckman and do one of his crazy plans. That would force Carmichael to come out of retirement from his successful tech empire with Sarah, Casey, and Morgan for their final mission.

        Revdr it hurts me too much to watch season 5 at all. The last three episodes hurts and so many ways. Because, it feels like Sarah Walker is no longer the Sarah Walker I fell for and no longer the same person. Granted she was able to recall Irene demova (first mission with Chuck), her first cover job, and her name in her dream house. She was never able to connect it. Even the flashbacks at the end of the scene does not clearly demonstrate to me at least that Sarah was getting these visions of her relationship with Chuck back. For all I know that was place there for us to see as viewers, while Chuck tells the story. She knew the beach was important, but did not know why. That means she can recall settings and things, but was never able to do so emotionally. They botched the ending and in some way I blame NBC more than I do the writers. Because the show was always on the bubble and I just wished the show would have been on a network like showtime. Having a million viewers on showtime, would have made the show last longer and I am sure chuck fans would buy showtime just to watch chuck.

        Amazing show that ended on a sour note for me and quite honestly made me disappointed with the series. This show is bittersweet to me. I loved the entire series, but the end of the show was awful. I am about to watch the series again, with the exception of season 5. I will never be able to watch season 5, unless a movie comes out or season 6 is made(really really unlikely). The show seems to be ending in the international markets soon. I think they are on 4 or 5 in Europe.

        I hate fan fiction, because it never happened in real life, or on screen. It toys with my emotion too much and in some way it can get quite erotic. I am hoping I can just get over Chuck. I have never been so attached to a show ever, and at times I wish I never seen it. I guess the question is asked, “is it better to love than to not have loved at all.” Obviously this question is irrelevant to the people who were satisfied with the ending, but people like me are in the same boat. Had it been a movie and the series never existed and the last two episodes was an actual movie, it would have been easier to accept, but because it was 5 years of our lives, that ending was unbearable to me. The same for Dexter(became a lumberjack after he was cured from sociopathic behavior and the two people he loved and could have restarted his life with far from Florida, he abandons them to be a lumber jack), the show ruined my 8 years of following the show. Breaking bad ended the show properly and rewarded its fans. Am I alone in this?

      • atcDave says:

        You don’t like fan fiction because it never happened in real life?! That’s funny! Errr, you do understand its all fiction, right? Those poor people on Gilligan’s Island….

        Seriously, a lot of the fan fiction writers are more talented than any of the pros.

      • 08mansoor says:

        kind of ironic huh. I have read a few fan fiction stories on Chuck and thought it was pretty solid and almost real(being an actual episode). That being said I can’t tolerate it without being shot ever. I think some of the fanfiction writers are more than capable of writing even scripts, but I need it to materialize. I just don’t like to rely on imagination and hope, I need it to come to actual fruition. Like in life or in film, or even series of books.It needs to follow a true sequence for me to enjoy it. On a side note, its really cool that your a bears fan, since I am as well. Looking forward to next season and hopefully we can have a good draft. I think Packers will be declining sooner or later and the division should be ours for the next 3-4 years. Going back to Chuck, my favorite season was the fourth one. Because Sarah officially left her tough exterior and started to show her true feelings. She needed Chuck to help her be more open and honest. One of my favorite episodes was the 20th of the 4th season and I found it really funny that she was a little confused that Chuck was playing it real cool and not showing his emotions with regards to the prenup and she was pretty emotional about it.

      • thinkling says:

        Good one, Dave! That was my very thought. (So, you don’tthink Gilligan ever received my care package?)

        o8mansoosr, there is some really terrific fan fiction out there. If you can’t be consoled about the ending, then read some of the other 95%. It will melt your heart and make you smile … and let you spend more time with the characters you love. Dave’s page is a one-stop shop for fan fiction.

        Perhaps, one of the reasons I see the finale in a more positive light is that I don’t think Sarah Bartowski was lost. You say she wasn’t the same person, but I think the finale is rife with evidence that Sarah Bartowski was still in there, momentarily forgotten, but still exercising her influence over memory-challenged Agent Walker. I won’t belabor the points here, because I know we’ll have that whole discussion at length when we get to the final arc.

      • atcDave says:

        08mansoor as Thinkling suggests much of the point of fan fiction is just about spending more time with our favorite characters. And like any fiction, you can accept or reject whatever portion of it you want. Although I agree the ending was inadequate, and really sort of disrespectful of fans; ultimately its up to us if we’re going to be consoled or remain frustrated. For myself, S3 is far more problematic than the ending, I absolutely have to reject that story. And I’ve found many fan fiction writers who I think have just vastly better ideas on how to tell that story than Schwedak and co. did. The end is a different sort of thing entirely; I can accept it, it simply ends too soon. I’ve found a few stories, really more than a few, MANY stories that continue on in satisfying and exciting ways. The fan fiction output afterwards is one of the real bonuses to come from an unworthy finale. Just so much awesome stuff to read!

        And yeah I”m a big Bears fan. Very mixed season. Awesome offense. But its amazing how the defense just collapsed this year. Hopefully some good draft picks, and maybe a free agent or two, and the defense will at least be average next season. Its very disorienting as a Bears fan to be happier with the “O” than the “D”!

      • anthropocene says:

        Dave, I do occasionally fantasize that someone with the wherewithal to make a “Chuck” movie reads 🙂

      • revdr says:

        08mansoor; like the others I totally agree that there are some absolutely great fan fiction out there. The thing about fanfics for me though is that what I like is sort of a further adventures stories of my favorite characters, not an explaining of what has already gone before. That should have been the job of the original writer. And yes, there are some fan fiction writers that are far superior to some of the so-called professionals out there. I don’t like the ending of Goodbye so no fanfic is ever going to reconcile that for me, but don’t discount some really great writing out there. Most of them are rated, so if you don’t want it to get too risque’ you can ferret out your own niche’. I can almost guarantee that you wont be disappointed.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Anthro there’s quite a few things at I wish someone with influence would read. Star Trek is the only franchise I know of where fan fiction is occasionally elevated to official status. Actually now that I think of it, it’s happened with some D&D products too. But there’s a few Chuck post series stories I could easily see as the starting point for a reunion movie. Obviously yours would work best for a reunion series!

      • anthropocene says:

        Well, thank you for that! I’m shooting for 13 episodes at least, which means 7 to go….

      • Angus MacNab says:

        Yes, Dave, I’m listening. 😉

        I’ve more than once found myself caught in a flight of fancy, wondering what it might be like to have one of the principals read my own solution to the complete arc, and say, ‘I could see something like that happening, would you like to be a part of making it happen on the screen?’ For anyone who places the fictional word on the page that would be a dream come true. When I first started Lost Years it began as a screenplay, literally written on Screen Writer freeware. After I had gotten a few scenes into it, I discovered Chuck fan fiction, and got completely caught up. I read many of the stories written by some great fan fiction authors, and I ended up asking myself, why not? Why not take the leap? Put the story on the page in a form many can enjoy and see what happens. Who knows where it could lead, and it might heal some of the wounds that I was feeling.

        Obviously, you can count me in that group, the fans who found the last three episodes to be very tragic and disturbing, and something of a disservice to both the fans and Chuck and Sarah. I do think it’s safe to assume they get back together after the beach, but at what cost, and what new struggles? Haven’t they been through enough? Sarah has had so much stripped away from her, and by proxy Chuck too. We’re left with the impression that she’s dealing with all of these sudden emotions while sitting on that beach, emotions that not long before she had said she didn’t feel, and for which she has very little context; and what has happened to her has left Chuck heartbroken.

        The relationship they’d built together over five years of obstacles and conflict was truly epic, and the writers of the show threatened to break them on several occasions over the course of it, backing away every time. Some would argue that Pink Slip was an occasion where they did it abusively so, and the end of Cliffhanger when we first glimpsed that church event schedule sign. Tell me you didn’t think these writers would never actually go there, and that it didn’t hit you hard that they might have actually done that. They knew how invested many of us were, and they took advantage of it. So, what Chuck and Sarah had fought to build over five years of adventure and romance was the stuff of legends, and while they can build a new life together again, what was lost to the both of them is a tragedy, and extremely sad.

        It was too bittersweet, and for me that’s saying a lot for a guy who likes the darkest of chocolate. I like drama and well thought out angst. But if you’re going lay it on that thick right at the end of the story you damn well better give your audience some clear resolution, one way or the other, or be ready for torches and pitchforks.

        As some are prone to say, Sarah’s been reset, and I think this is an accurate description of what has happened to her. We see some of her in glimpses in the last episode, the Sarah who grew after five years with Chuck, but for the most part she is the wildcard. She’s even harder than what was displayed in the pilot, with the exception of Chuck’s flash when he sees her ring (I like Thinkling’s thoughts on this, by the way – how she may have been brainwashed into something more ruthlessly determined than she ever really was). We see the wildcard with Ellie at the cafe in E12, and in her eyes when she pulls her gun on the team in the Intersect lab, cold determination and perhaps a certain degree of ruthlessness, or even sociopathy. It always astounds me how many fans and writers like to celebrate that type of character, that side of Sarah’s character, and how they find anything redeeming or a source of strength in that type of unbalanced behavior. We see that type of Sarah vignetted in the show, and often more than that in fan fiction. I suppose it’s a good place to start, a way to show how far a character can go in their quest for redemption and growth, but often times it’s carried to such an extreme that one wonders if redemption is possible at all. “I’m sorry, I did my job too well.” The look in her eyes after she says that; to quote John Casey: Ugh.

        I digress.

        This is what Chuck and Sarah have been left to accept, what they’ve been forced to accept; where they have to rebuild their relationship from. It’s a big challenge for them in my mind. It was such a huge challenge, for both them and me as well, that I felt I had to resolve it in some way, and it led to me doing something I had never done before, and will most likely never do again for a TV show.

        It seems I’ve been dragged off the thread topic again, and that I’m probably also sounding like a skipping record. However you did ask, Dave. 🙂 I should probably stay away from the finale thread.

      • atcDave says:

        Geez don’t stay away Angus! That’s the sort of analysis we will always like to read! I don’t quite agree about how dark the Sarah of 5.12 was, I think we saw plenty of evidence she was trying to do the right thing, it was just complicated by Chuck behaving in ways that seemed to verify her briefing. But no doubt they crafted an intense tale that I’ll always believe needed a more definitive resolution.

        Either our finale discussions will be really intense in a couple months, or we’ll all he talked out by then…

      • anthropocene says:

        Dave: as Chuck memorably said, “I seriously doubt that.”

        Angus, I agree with your main points and appreciate your clarity. FF has been my post-series therapy too. But many have argued that every bit of evidence suggesting that Sarah was “reset” can be matched and countered by evidence that Sarah would rebound—and in fact was already well along in her healing process when the beach scene faded out. Sure, we all wanted to see that play out further. But why not expect that Chuck and Sarah’s future would be just as adventurous and exciting and romantic and life-affirming as always? Isn’t that the only realistic outcome should there ever be more episodes or a movie?

      • atcDave says:

        Oh oh, time for an epic debate between high profile fan fiction writers and conflicting visions for the post series status! Do you guys need your own thread? I could arrange that!

      • joe says:

        Man, Angus. You’re a great writer.

        As some are prone to say, Sarah’s been reset, and I think this is an accurate description of what has happened to her.

        I understand that – in fact, I had (and continue to have, to some extent) those same feelings, complete with anguish and despair over what we saw in The Goodbye.

        I know everyone’s thoughts on it are pretty well solidified by now, and I’m not going to say anything that’ll change minds. But I continue to be heartened by Ellie’s idea, that Sarah may have lost access to five years worth of memories, not the last five years of emotions. That’s the difference between Langston Graham’s wildcard enforcer and Mrs. Sarah Bartowski. That leaves me hopeful.

      • atcDave says:

        Well you know that’s how I see it too Joe. Just as Morgan came to his “old self” at the end of Frosted Tips, even before his memories were restored; I imagine the same thing for Sarah at show’s end. That’s sort of how I interpret CF’s “emotionally caught up” comment. She’s back to being Sarah Bartowski, including in love with her husband, even if there’s gaping holes in her memories.

      • Angus MacNab says:

        I don’t think there’s any question at all that Sarah Walker always tried to do the right thing, especially where Chuck was concerned, from the very beginning. And as I’m often wont to do in this format, I probably overstated my case a bit.

        I have no real disagreement with Anthro or many of the other opinions here about where I see Chuck and Sarah ultimately headed as a pair either, and as it always was, it will be an adventure. I think it only boils down to a matter of degrees; what they would have to go through to get back to where they once were. I think I’ve made it clear in my writing they would have made it there rather quickly, even without most of her lost memories, but not without some bumps in the road; and I’ll wait to present my thoughts on that further until we get to our discussion about Chuck vs Sarah.

        Yeah, Joe, I’m optimistic that they’ll get there, that those emotions will ground Sarah and help her reconnect to Chuck, but maybe not right away. I don’t see a Sarah in love with Chuck on that beach, Dave. What I see is a Sarah in turmoil, one trying to accept the idea, the fact that Chuck does love her. And now she’s thinking that she wants to be in love with him again, but she’s not there. Given her history she could still pull back from him a little when facing what that means based upon what she knows of herself before she met Chuck.

      • Angus MacNab says:

        To make more clear what I said in that last statement about the possibility of Sarah pulling back: If Sarah has indeed been reset, and she’s trying to deal with all these disassociated emotions like Ellie suggests, her training would be telling her to ignore them. Because spies don’t fall in love, and your emotions will get you killed – all of which I personally believe is rubbish, by the way, and Chuck himself skewered on multiple occasions, But since that is what the story gave us, and how Sarah was supposedly trained…

  2. resaw says:

    Oh man, that song. I’m playing the video you posted above, Joe, as I’m writing this, and it has that magical melodic melancholy, lonely, and yet hopeful feeling to it. And as I think about the memory loss and what lies ahead in this season, I have all those feelings rising up in me again.

    Dave, it is interesting to me that you are not pleased with Morgan’s increased involvement in the series. I don’t disagree with you, and of course, the writers needn’t have gone in the direction they did, but the impact on Morgan of the Intersect seems very much organic to the story that TPTB were trying to tell. It’s a bit too bad that Morgan’s latent d-bag-ery (is that an acceptable way to say what I’m trying to say) came out so thoroughly, but it does reveal the danger of the Intersect.

    And, as much as I don’t like playing the memory loss card in any show – it seems too soap-opera-ish — it does nicely provide context for what comes along later and explains how Sarah is so devastatingly affected by her download of the Intersect.

    Joe, I’m not sure I follow your last sentence. I would say that Sarah was Chuck’s handler for the first three years. They were essentially CIA peers in season 4, civilian peers in season 5, and the finale suggested that Chuck would be a kind of handler for Sarah following the kiss and fade away at the beach in the finale. Could you elaborate a bit more?

    I’ll add that I also liked Casey’s reconnaissance mission at Wesley’s hideout. Although, I have to wonder at the intelligence of those guards. There’s Casey up in the rather arid hills outside of LA (I presume), and he’s hunting waterfowl(?!) I know the ludicrousness of his cover is part of the charm of that little bit of his story, but even so….

    Oh, did you hear the one good and true thing that Morgan said to Chuck: “With or without (the Intersect) you are a hero”? Now when was that said? Was it just outside the elder Snejder’s place?

    I do rank this episode on the lower end of the scale, but at the same time, in the context of the whole series and the climax toward which the writers are building, it feels like a necessary story.

    Thanks for the review, guys. And once more for good measure… GGGGGRRRRRAAAA.


    • joe says:

      Russ, your notion of what the finale suggests is precisely what I meant. Yes, perhaps Sarah wasn’t Chuck’s handler for all five years we had, but then again, in a way, she was; Sarah always guided him through the spy-world.

      And what I think the finale was telling us is that Chuck will be Sarah’s guide back through the world she lost, the world of family and friends. That’s what I meant by “handler.”

      Does that help?

      And yes, I’m pretty sure Morgan told Chuck that he was a hero even without the Intersect while they were invading Sneijder’s offices.

    • atcDave says:

      I do agree Morgan’s story is important, informative to understanding the outcome with Sarah. But uh, just a little too much. I’m not a Morgan hater, as some clearly are. I’m more of “a little goes a long way” sort. In small doses Morgan can be very funny. This episode does sort of cross the line into too much. When it first ran I was fearful of what this may indicate for the season (just as many viewers had feared back at the end of S4). It is less of an issue to me now knowing this will be his largest part of the season.

      • mr2686 says:

        Bandit is number 76 on my list, which for me, is the very last of the “average” episodes. I will disagree somewhat on “a little Morgan goes a long way”. I don’t think it’s as much how much he’s used, but how he’s used. Morgan has a lot of screen time in “Anniversary” but he’s used in a more complementary role which plays to the character’s strength within the series, In Bandit, he’s the focal point which doesn’t play quite as well to me. What does play well for me is the Buy More this week, and especially Big Mike. Some of my favorite lines was:
        Captain Awesome: Sure I did some modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch back in college, but I hung up those cargo pants a long time ago.
        Big Mike: Hold on, son! I’m not talking about doing some teenage porno here.

        Big Mike (watching the original Buy More commercial from the 70’s with him in fake wig) Man, was I skinny.
        And of course, the whole tv commercial audition complete with “I was a hot piece of meat” comment from Big Mike.
        Honorable mention: Sarah trying to get her gas for the Lotus written off, and the tumble weed in the Buy More.

      • atcDave says:

        I thought Anniversary was way too much Morgan! I’m really not that interested in the bromance; but then, that’s been among my minor complaints since the Pilot. And it is fairly minor, as you mention, this episode is still clearly among those I like, even if it is at the weak end.

      • I’m with Mr. I love Morgan in his role of comic foil. I just think other characters’ interactions with him become terrific markers of where those characters are in their psyche. Episodes like Anniversary and Beard are among my favorites. The amount of Morgan isn’t nearly as important as the role he plays. Bearded Man is IMO a terrible episode because it takes a character and actor out of roles they are perfectly suited for. Thankfully, TPTB course corrected very quickly. In the context of the arc, Bearded Man is excusable.

  3. andereandre says:

    What I dislike about the Morgansect episodes are the Morgan scenes (heh).
    But by mostly ignoring them, I have started to appreciate these episodes more and more. Lots of good stuff in there and I still discover new small jokes: “Do you have Betamax? Sho’ nuff. We even sell VCRs depending of course on what you’re into”, hah.

  4. revdr says:

    Man, it’s been two years today and I miss Chuck more than ever. I’m pretty much like Dave in that I believe in the Morgan in moderation (less is more) camp. I don’t dislike Morgan, but I tire of him very quickly. Unfortunately, Morgan is the driver in this first arc, and we come to see a Morgan that we have never seen before. This Morgan likes to be a focal point or the weapon he sees himself as being (almost like a Booster Gold type). He doesn’t like being left in the car. The hero complex in full force. We also see a growing resentment of Chuck and his authority. As a contrast, we see a latent jealously coming from Chuck, again missing something that he once thought to be a millstone around his neck. More so this time because the intersect isn’t just suppressed, but, someone else now possesses it, and that person just happens to be his best friend. Morgan constantly inflating ego and Chuck’s questioning of his new role and usefulness is very present, I wish that I liked the episode more, but is ranks low on my episodes to remember list. After several re-watches though I do see the significance and what we were meant to see. The changes in the Chuck/Sarah dynamic continue to shine and I love seeing them happy, and growing together. I’ll talk about Casey later. And, I’m sure that we will discuss it as the season progresses, but I have been wondering if this faulty version of the intersect that Morgan downloaded was the same one that Sarah gets later?

    • atcDave says:

      Some really good thoughts on Morgan revdr, nice. According to a deleted scene from Bullet Train, Sarah did download the same version as Morgan.

    • joe says:

      It is, Rev.
      There’s one other thing that I really should bring up next week. But since we’ve seen the beginnings of it in Morgan already…

      There are strong clues (I’ll be watching for verification) that the tainted Intersect did not make Morgan “evil” in the sense that his basic personality was altered. Instead, they seemed to have allowed Morgan to express his inner jerk, something he hasn’t done since middle school, IIRC.

      Same with Sarah in the penultimate episode (think of what she tried to do to Ellie). I think it’s Fedak’s way of saying all of us have this capacity for evil, but most all of us control that and civilize ourselves appropriately most of the time. Our underlying personalities are constant, but sometimes we have to learn and re-learn the lessons.

      • oldresorter says:

        ” all of us have this capacity for evil, but most all of us control that and civilize ourselves appropriately most of the time.”

        Joe. That could be. But I feel (opinion of course) that failure to put such a line in the script, from a person of respect, for example said by Ellie to Chuck, and consequently to the fans, is reuired from a tightly written script.

        This way, nobody has any real solid notion of what exactly those two eps meant. The writers bragged about the ambiguity of the end even. IMO those final two eps were nothing to brad about.

        Still, had they just paid off the ending, I think the show would have received high praise from most critics and fair minded fans. For some reason, the writers stopped short of a climax, which is never appreciated by those on the other end of the event!

      • I agree, Joe. I always thought of the personality shifts from Morgan as a way of saying that our experiences and relationships are an essential part of who we become. The worst Morgan and Sarah get is when they not only lose their memories, but when they emotionally and/or physically distance themselves from their loved ones.

  5. latetotheparty says:

    Joe, I have always been heavily invested in the show and it’s characters, Sarah mostly. I remember I would stay up late not being able to stop watching until I knew Sarah was out of harms way for that night. Since I was watching episodes on DVD, I never had to wait to see what the next episode brought. I’ve heard that the fans had to wait up to three weeks when it was first aired. The wait would have been a killer for me. In some ways watching on DVD made the misery arc so much easier to deal with.
    About strong feeling and emotions for this show, I’ve had them all and after getting through 3.0 I think I’ll be OK, but thanks for the heads up. That said with this bunch of writers and showrunners nothing would surprise me, but I would not rule out anger. P.S. if you could link me to a best/worst poll I would appreciate it. I have never seen the poll with all 91 episodes.

    • joe says:

      Late, on the right hand side there’s a drop down menu labeled “Categories”. Choose polls and you should see all the posts that Ernie labeled with the “poll” tag. I think he’s been pretty good at keeping that list up to date.

      I entirely understand your reactions. They mirror mine, exactly AND I used to spend waaayyy too much time thinking about the week’s episode as I took my lunch-hour walks at work. Add one iPod full of tunes from the show and it WILL dominate your thoughts!

      You make a real good point. Watching the episodes in quick succession (I’ve been clocked at a season per week rate) is a different experience from seeing Santa Claus in the middle of December, 3-D six weeks later (schedule interrupted by something trivial like A PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH (huff-huff)) followed by two out-of-order episodes because Valentine’s Day is <voice type=”Church Lady”>Special!</voice>

      I really recommend both, but doing the slower pace re-watch with us!

      • atcDave says:

        That break between Santa Clause and Third Dimension was terrible! And of course waiting five weeks after S2 to find out if we’d even been renewed!

        Here’s the link to the poll again.

  6. thinkling says:

    Extraneous thoughts:

    This is my least favorite of the Morgansect arc, but it has it’s good moments, like the affirmation of Chuck as a hero and a real spy without the Intersect, the jogging scene at the end (a favorite), the face off between Sarah and Gertrude, the Reagan photo in Gertrude’s office, and Casey’s hangup (that has two meanings ;)) with Gertrude.

    I might also mention that Sarah’s character really shines in the Verbanski sub-plot. Not only does she refuse Gertrude’s offer and stick up for her d in no uncertain terms, she demonstrates her willingness to do anything to save her husband … including eating not thinking twice about the side of crow she had to eat. That was just kind of wonderful and sweet and awesome.

    It’s true that Chuck didn’t do so well handling Morgan, but it strikes me that handling Morgan is like sculpting mercury or herding cats. Sarah was lucky — she got Chuck. Chuck … got Morgan.

    Joe you said, “It’s the marvelous depiction of Chuck&Sarah, the married couple. Ask me in 2008 how I wanted to see them, and this, the way we have it throughout S5, is exactly it.” I couldn’t agree more … which is why I love S5 so much.

    Dave, it’s not just the deleted scene that tells us that Sarah downloaded the buggy version. It’s in the episode itself. Chuck asked her if it was the same version, and she confirmed that it was.

    An average episode with some great moments … and necessary to set up the final showdown.

    • atcDave says:

      Are you sure about what we knew Thinkling? It’s been a while since I watched it; but I was almost positive we were all wondering if Sarah had the same version of the Intersect until the discs came out and we saw the deleted scene. Maybe I’m forgetting something?

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, I went back and watched the scene again (about 8.5 minutes in), just to be sure. Chuck says, “You wouldn’t have downloaded the same version of the [Intersect] that Morgan did would you?” Sarah says, “OK, I did, yes, but we’ll talk about in two seconds.”

      • atcDave says:

        Okay, I completely forgot that!

    • revdr says:

      The reason that I wondered about whether the faulty intersect was the same version or a different tainted version was just in the differences that were fairly evident between Morgan and Sarah. I didn’t really see a personality change in Sarah. Morgan had a more selective memory loss and his change in personality seemed to have been more pronounced. Morgan had delusions and aspirations of being a hero/weapon, while Sarah had less control in flashing than Morgan seemed to have. That why I thought that while both of the intersects downloaded were tainted could each have a different viral effect.

      • atcDave says:

        Sarah’s memory loss was minor until Quinn messed with her, probably not unlike Morgan’s. The uncontrolled flashing was odd (!). Perhaps Morgan would have experienced the same if he ever used it as much as Sarah did in a short time. But I think Morgan’s personality change was all on him, a bit of a superhero complex that the Intersect unleashed!
        I’m not sure what Thinkling may remember differently, but in a deleted scene from the start of Bullet Train we saw Ellie confirm to Sarah that she had the same version Morgan had.

  7. noblz says:

    This is an episode where the main story (Morgansect) was a fail for me, but almost everything around it was good.
    Sarah and Chuck getting briefed by Casey about the Gertrude situation.
    Sarah soft selling Karl at the beginning.
    The Sarah/Gertrude face off was priceless.
    Sarah/Chuck interaction was near perfect.
    Casey losing patience with Morgan was classic.
    While I’m not usually a big fan of the Buy More stories, Big Mike roping Awesome into the commercial and the whole Buy More commercial subplot was hilarious.

    Not perfect with the Morgansect, but very entertaining.

    • atcDave says:

      Oh I’d forgotten Casey growling at Morgan, that was awesome!

      Agree exactly about the Buy More; it often doesn’t really work for me. But this one was very funny.

  8. candm3407 says:

    As much as I mentioned previous I love the intersect story, and bothered that in season 5 everyone gets it. it deviated from the original idea that only a special brain was able to get it. The only ones I accept as possibilities was Orion and Volkoff because they tested it on themselves. However, I do like this episode because it reminds me of season 1.

    Let me explain, Morgan is still new to the intersect. He needs someone to handle him. The perfect person is Chuck. However, the last time Chuck handled someone it became a disaster and growing experience at the same time. In the Nacho Sampler, which is my 7th favorite episode. The difference is Manoosh was not Chuck’s best friend. The other concern was what was going to be the theme of season 5, which was memory loss, which this is the reason why a character like Orion should of never been killed off because of the importance he had with the intersect program.

    Sarah’s handling of Morgan and Chuck was interesting on the outset it looked like she was handling Chuck, but after two re-watches I see that she was only trying to help Morgan control his urges and not become a danger to himself and the company they were trying to get off it’s feet.

    What I love most about this episode was how Sarah made it clear to Verbanski that she was a Mrs. not Ms. Walker. It shows that Sarah is comfortable as a wife, and accepts it As Daniel Shaw once said,

    Daniel Shaw: You Look great Sarah…I would be remiss if I didn’t say love suits you

    • joe says:

      Good catch with Manoosh, Candm. Nearly forgot about him!
      Up stream a bit, I was ruminating on the idea that The Tainted Intersect didn’t really make anyone evil so much as it brought out faults that had been dealt with in the normal course of maturation (Morgan grew out of being a jerk). But that wasn’t the taint. The bad Intersect robbed people of their memories (actually, their ability to access them, Ellie explained hopefully). That was the taint introduced by the CIA and/or Decker.

      There was something about the whole Intersect concept – Stephen knew about it – that had the potential to bring out the worst in people and that’s something different. Something like absolute power corrupting absolutely, perhaps. That’s what Stephen meant, I think. The Intersect never corrupted him the way it did Morgan, turning him back into a jerk, and Sarah, turning her back into a cold-school killer, or even Hartley and Manoosh, turning them into traitors and criminals. For Chuck, there was nothing like that in him to bring out.

      If that’s the concept then they really didn’t deviate from it in S5. But I’m just speculating, of course.

    • “original idea that only a special brain was able to get it”
      I’m pretty sure that wasn’t anywhere in the show. Chuck was better at it than anyone else, but the original idea was the Intersect was for anyone. It’s like math or chess. Many people can do algebra or know how the basic rules, but not everyone is a Good Will Hunting or a Bobby Fischer. Chuck handled it better than anyone else. Various copies of the technology had flaws. As those were fixed over time, more people code handle it, but never as well as Chuck. Even Chuck could be suppressed.

    • atcDave says:

      To continue on Jeff’s theme, its actually suggested that the original idea was the exact opposite of only a special brain could handle it. Stephen’s idea was using it as an education aid. Apparently as it turned out, only a select few could manage the original version of the Intersect. But by mid S4 we had a version that was more stable for more people. And apparently Ellie improved it even further late in the season.
      By the end, it seems they expected many people could handle a pristine Intersect. Morgan and Sarah both were damaged by a corrupt version of the program, yet it worked in them both for a while.

      • revdr says:

        Then, what about the governor? In Anniversary we see Chuck with several new governors that he has apparently perfected. Then in Leftovers when Chuck is re-intersected nothing is mentioned about. Did Ellie fix that problem? I don’t think that it was ever mentioned again was it? Also, in Bullet Train Sarah clearly says that the intersect was going to be suppressed, not removed. That implies that it could be re-activated. In S2, Intersect 1.0 was completely removed; then in S4, 2.0 was only suppressed. And remember, Morgan was still re-learning some things, including about The Star Wars saga (kudos to Casey btw) as this storyline continued. There was so much that needed to be explained that wasn’t. That’s why I said that Morgan’s memory loss seems to be more random than Sarah’s which seemed to be much broader, although it could stem from the usage, given tat Sarah had already flashed 40 times before being captured by Quinn. So many questions.

      • atcDave says:

        Well they did make a mess of things as they went. Some of it, we’ll likely never figure out. But I suspect we’re supposed to think no governor was needed after Ellie tweaked the Intersect. And Morgan and Sarah both had pretty random memory glitches (Sarah couldn’t remember Alex!) until Quinn did something to deliberately manipulate her; I think that has to be in its own category. I believe Morgan would have been vulnerable to the same sort of manipulation, but I’m not sure if Chuck would have been (was what Quinn did dependent on the corrupt Intersect? Or would it work on any Intersect?)

    • thinkling says:

      My 2c on the Intersects:

      First, as we’ve talked about, it was a developing technology, so the same properties don’t apply to all versions at all times.

      Hartley/Volkoff’s was one of a kind — the first one tested — and was designed to implant an alien identity/personality. It went horribly wrong — or was sabotaged (conspiracy?) — and the alien identity took over. I don’t think Volkoff was some latent personality flaw in Hartley (like the tainted Intersect brought out in Morgan). Volkoff was an implanted (from the outside) cover identity that took over. I do, however, think we see some vestige of Hartley in Volkoff, like his crush on Mary and his choice of a mansion down the road from where he grew up.

      The one Chuck uploaded as a child (alpha version) was experimental and probably smaller than the one Bryce sent him. It’s clear from that upload (and Prof. Flemming’s classes) that Chuck’s brain has an unusual capacity for data. Until the Intersect is perfected, few people will be able to handle it.

      The one(s) Stephen uploaded to test on himself (beta version?) was probably most like the one Bryce sent to Chuck.

      The one Bryce sent Chuck was still an early version (1.0) and would not work well with just anyone. It needed a special brain. Bryce knew from Stanford that Chuck could handle it. Any Intersect host should also possess another quality, and Bryce knew that Chuck had it — Chuck always does the right thing. This Intersect gave Chuck headaches, but we don’t really know if it needed a governor. Maybe he didn’t use it enough, or maybe he would have eventually needed one.

      Fulcrum’s Intersect wasn’t the same as the CIA Intersect in Chuck’s brain. It was their proprietary imitation and produced disastrous results in all the test subjects until Chuck … because of his high capacity brain.

      The CIA Intersect that was about to go online in First Date, was sabotaged, so it is its own case.

      The 2.0, though presumably improved for broader use was also very dangerous. The skills component was harder to control and seemed to be hard wired for automatic self defense/self preservation response. This Intersect was harder on the brain (needed the governor) and required strength of integrity and enormous will to control it. Chuck’s moral compass and integrity, as well as his big brain, made him uniquely qualified to host this Intersect.

      After Ellie found Orion’s laptop in the Mustang, she apparently solved some of the issues with the 2.0. She said it worked like something designed by an engineer and that she solved the puzzle. So, I assume we have something like a 2.1 which no longer needs a governor. From then on the Intersect would be more compatible with the human brain.

      The Intersect the GRETAs uploaded was not a “pristine” version. It was modified to compensate for Chuck’s “flaws” — the very ones that make him an ideal Intersect host. Presumably it was the 2.1 modified to eliminate much of the human factor to create unquestioning soldiers … call it 2.1.b (b for bad).

      The tainted version that was sent to Chuck (presumably to destroy him) but uploaded by Morgan and then by Sarah, was clearly engineered to cause memory loss. Perhaps over time it would have caused even more damage (like what began to happen with Chuck in Tooth.) Morgan’s was more random, every time he flashed, he lost some memory or other. Sarah overused hers and began losing memories faster, and she lost control over the flashing. Then Quinn targeted specific memories (Chuck and her time in Burbank) through the use of flash cards. My personal view is that what Quinn did was dependent on the corrupt Intersect. I do think that Morgan’s personality change was probably a lot on him. As Dave said, his own superhero complex and inner jerk unrestrained, in part, due to memory loss.

      The pristine version (3.0) was presumably further improved on by Ellie, after Bentley returned it to her. That’s what Chuck ended up with.

      [Anyway, I had a lot of fun coming up with pseudo explanations for how the Intersect worked, both the normal and corrupt versions, with the brain in my story.]

  9. candm3407 says:

    it is true Morgan and Sarah downloaded a corrupt version of the Intersect, but to say the pristine version didn’t affect anyone is preposterous. The best examples were the two Gretas. However, the results were not the same as the way Chuck handled the Intersect. I thought of something though last night, after watching some episodes of Chuck in honor of the Anniversary of the execution of the greatest show.

    At the end of Chuck vs The A Team, Chuck said something that makes sense, The Intersect worked best when Team Bartowski worked together. All three of them made the program work at its best. The flashes mixed in with intelligence made the Intersect work almost flawlesslyl. Chuck on his two missions by himself never worked the way it did when he was with his team with the exception of Push Mix. This is what Team Bartowski tried to do with Morgan in this episode, but Morgan was not having it because he was being kept in the car.

    His emotions worked well with the intersect because he was able to morally decide rather than protocol what was the right cause of action. it was like Orion said ” use a gun only if it the last choice.” Chuck used flashes when their was no other choice, which again indicates the importance of that special brain

    • revdr says:

      True enough; but there were instances, lots of them, when the flashes were involuntary (on the date in First Date for example) so the flashes weren’t always driven by emotion. Unless, that changed with the download of 2.0. Maybe the addition of physical skills affected the brain on an emotional level. It was clear that even the pristine version had issues, although Stephen J. didn’t have 2.0. I don’t know what were the actual drivers in all this, but it can be pointed out that throughout, it was established that Chuck’s mind was special, and not only did he download an earlier version but Fulcrum’s idea of their own intersect as well. The A Team’s major complaint seemed to be the pressure placed on their brain, and it did seem to change their personality as well, at least to a lesser degree than the tainted version that Morgan and Sarah.

    • atcDave says:

      No one ever said the pristine version had no issues, only that it seemed to be the best Intersect, with the fewest issues, and it worked on a pretty broad number of subjects.

  10. Christopher says:

    Here is something I would like to ask everyone about Chuck vs The Truth. Is it me or does Chuck at the beginning of this episode and pretty much throughout was the one seeing the cover as a cover and Sarah was treating it like a relationship, here are the two scenes that tell me that Chuck was tired of the Charade that lead to the break up beside the appearance of Lou.

    When Chuck was briefing with Sarah about having to do it..well not do it. it seemed like Chuck didn’t want to be there.
    After the date Chuck was really not into cuddling with Sarah on the street. It was Sarah who had to imitate the contact. It almost seems like Chuck is beginning to feel forced into this situation.

    What do you guys think?

    I don’t mean to go off topic. I know this is season five discussion, but as I am currently watching the episode. I was just thinking outside the box here.

    • joe says:

      I think you have it exactly right, Christopher. In Truth, it always seemed to me that Chuck was determined to not let himself be fooled by his own emotions. The guy knew that he, like everyone else, is prone to seeing what he wanted to see and hearing what he wanted to hear, so Chuck was determined to ignore that and believe the words Sarah was telling him.

      Her words told him that she was a cover-girlfriend. Problem is, of course, she was either too believable at being a girlfriend or totally unbelievable at being a cover-girlfriend; take your pick. What Chuck needs is a truth serum! You know how that worked out for him.

      What it looks like to me, after five years, is a wonderful job of acting on Zac and Yvonne’s part, because I totally buy it.

      • revdr says:

        Joe, I totally agree that Chuck at that point couldn’t differentiate what was real and what wasn’t as far as Sarah was concerned. However, he could feel something, but because he got that no from her while under the influence he felt that he needed to move on. Sarah on the other hand had to use every bit of her training at that point, because she knew that she was, or had fallen hard. It was a study in contrasts.

      • joe says:

        Sure, Rev. We’re in agreement. Chuck definitely thought he saw something hopeful in Sarah’s manner and actions (yeah, as if the lingerie wasn’t a dead giveaway). There’s a bit of story-telling magic here in the way they depict that wonderful stage in a romantic relationship – one I hope we’ve all experienced – when you’re not quite sure of what you’re seeing and you’re just hoping that it’s not a mirage.

        I’m just pointing out that Chuck, even though he knew he was smitten by Sarah, didn’t want to go around fooling himself about her feelings for him. He tried to cut through the layers of CIA-Agent deception by talking to Sarah about it (before he tried truth serum – heh!), but you know they were always crap communicators. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll agree with all of that. The amusing thing to me is how “cover” comes to mean completely different things to the two of them. To Sarah, it’s an excuse to act how she really wants to act anyway. But to Chuck it’s a “reminder” that things aren’t real and it’s all an act. Funny thing is, Chuck’s interpretation is causing misery for himself and Sarah both. But then he’s not used to dealing with layers of deceit to get to the truth.

      • Christopher says:


        I think we both can agree what made Yvonne and Zac so good was they didn’t need to speak at all times. Body language and face expression was the key to a lot of the scenes. From episode one to the end. Especially for Yvonne her emotions through her facial expression was top notch.

        This is why I didn’t need to hear the spoke words they liked each other’s company. They had respect for each other. What everyone didn’t see in them they say in each other. Casey saw a unpredictable enforcer and Chuck’s friends and family saw a no direction stuck in the past guy. However, I believe Carina was the one who was unpredictable.

        It is amazing that after two years from Goodbye we still talk about it like it was yesterday. Great Stuff!!!

    • andereandre says:

      Chuck thinks that for Sarah it is only a cover. He thinks that that gets confirmed while they are under the influence of the truth serum. So things are hopeless and he can’t stand living that particular lie anymore.

  11. Christopher says:

    Here is something to think about why The Truth and The Imported Hard Salami is important to the revealing of Sarah’s feelings starting to blossom. If we take in account the Mission Log between the two episodes timeline is day 49 and HS is day 56 you have a week from where Sarah says Chuck broke up with me and the first real kiss.

    If Sarah hasn’t seen Chuck in seven days it makes me think that after spending every day with him Chuck’s move trigger the real feelings plus the best thing about Chuck is he can be very honest which is what happen here. Sarah’s body language is telling me that Lou is really not the issue its more for the first time a man broke up with her and she could not handle it. Especially from a man she has developed real feelings The cover does not work anymore.

    • atcDave says:

      Well I think the biggest issue is just that Sarah has real feelings for Chuck; she’s not used to having real feelings for anyone, and even worse she’s not allowed to as part of her job description (the fundamental conflict of interest).

      • Chris Byrnes says:

        I agree and the truth is it started even before she was assigned his handler. She was recalled and stayed on her own. Grant it she is a fixer besides the enforcer, but I’d like to believe she stayed because of those emotions that had began to develop.

        I am with you when it comes to watching Sarah’s a;ter ego start to crack. The funniest thing is the woman knows how to take out five guys on a mission, but when Chuck comes into her life she becomes soft like a kitten
        Which I love to see in season five as a wife, and I do feel the kiss worked, but I don’t think things will be like they use too. I think they will begin the journey all over again. Only this time they are not the same people from yesterday

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah the duality of Sarah; tough as nails and a total sweetie (with Chuck) is a big part of what is so appealing about her.

  12. revdr says:

    There were two things that I saw actually. 1) Sarah realized that she wasn’t “handling” her asset as well as she thought she could. The one thing that she (and Casey) failed to get about Chuck was his single-minded loyalty to family and friends, as well as his determination to be “normal”. This was just another example of that. Chuck had been hurt deeply once (once bitten, twice shy) but he still wanted love in him life. It didn’t hurt that a beautiful girl was actively flirting with him. 2) Sarah saw what normal looked like for the first time and actually dared to dream. She knew that Chuck wanted and deserved a normal life but because of duty (that word again) she also knew that she couldn’t give him that or share that life with him. Sarah was falling….

    • atcDave says:

      And it was so much fun watching to see the cracks in her armor!

      • revdr says:

        Yeah it was fun, but I felt for her so badly. To want something; someone that you could really have but for duty. Sarah conflict drove seasons 1 & 2 much more that Chuck’s did. Chuck knew what he wanted and was determined to get it. Sarah knew what she wanted but was determined not to.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s very well put. But I think I enjoyed it so much because I never doubted she would eventually give in to what she wanted. My strongest feeling of those first two seasons was the waiting game, when will Agent Walker crack? “take off your Watch” becomes one of the greatest moments in television history.

      • revdr says:

        Absolutely; WT/WT became “when will they” at that moment.

      • andereandre says:

        What they always played out very well and Yvonne acted superbly was the ambiguity between “Chuck wants the intersect out and he deserves that” and “if Chuck gets the intersect out, I will get reassigned and it is all over”.

      • joe says:

        This whole conversation is making me very nostalgic for the first time I saw those episodes. And I agree – for all the WT/WT and delays and obstacles, it kept getting better and better, culminating in Dave’s favorite line, “Take off your watch.”

        Hum. I’m having visions of a volcano blowing.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Andre, its one of the best conflicts I’ve ever seen on television. I always loved how Sarah fought for Chuck to get the future he wanted even though she knew it would be a crisis point for her. That’s part of what made her a hero all the way through.

      • revdr says:

        Its just extremely sad that it took them so long to get there. I cannot for the life of me understand why it is so difficult to write for a committed couple. I get very tired for hearing about the “Moonlighting Curse”. The only curse for Moonlighting was that Cybil Shepard and Bruce Willis, while having some of the best on screen chemistry in tv history couldn’t stand each other off. Add to that Shepard’s very public pregnancy, Willis’ exploding movie career and the fact the Glenn Caron, the creator and primary writer left as soon as they put them together and you have more of a Moonlighting Mess. The show couldn’t survive his departure. Dave and Maddie are the closest to Chuck and Sarah for me in the last 25 years.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah revdr, I agree exactly. The first two seasons of Chuck were just brilliantly written and managed. But S3 was the revenge of the television cliches; or “how to ruin a good thing in one easy lesson.” You could just see them loosing their nerve in the writers’ room. Doubly tragic since once they delivered Honeymooners and beyond, they unleashed one of the best screen couples in history. Its funny/tragic when you see interviews from that time and they act so surprised at how good Zach and Yvonne were on screen together. They hadn’t been watching their own show…

      • revdr says:

        Or how about “the road to near ruin in 12 episodes or less”. Chuck and Sarah were a forgone conclusion from the beginning, and they were unprepared. By Pink Slip they should been Steed and Peel. By Cliffhanger, they should have been the Harts. Can you imagine what they could have accomplished?

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Dave and Revdr. Brilliantly written and played romance. We talked often in the yearning years about CS as a Thin Man / Hart to Hart / Undercover Blues couple. What we got eventually, of course, was as great or greater than the best. They just delayed a little too long to get there.

        Revdr, I totally share your disappointment in writers to be able to write a good committed couple. Maybe there just aren’t enough role models in Hollywood. ;). One problem in my mind is trying to apply the fairy tale / rom-com model to a TV series. It’s fine for a two hour movie or 20 page story, but spread over several seasons it wears thin and becomes stale. The longer they wait and the more trope and triangles they come up with to keep them apart, the less story they have left … the tired-er the relationship becomes (or damaged) … and the more they set it up as THE end game. They need to get the leads together early, in the middle of a season, and then launch them into a great adventure. The shows end, b/c they wait too long and prime their audience to expect the show to end after they get the leads together.

      • atcDave says:

        I always suspect the problem is also educational (not to diminish the “lack of good role models” argument, I think that’s HUGE!). But I think right from film school they’re taught the story ends with the committed couple; which I think is just a tragic way of looking at it. I think that’s the best part of the story!

      • thinkling says:

        I agree, Dave. The film-school model is throw rice … role credits. IRL, throwing the rice is the beginning, not the end. I prefer seeing the committed couple after a reasonable length of courtship. (And spare me all the love geometry!)

        Anecdotally, Mentalist employed my strategy. The end game was catching Red John … and then what. I like how they did it. They caught Red John mid season, skipped forward two years and then forced Patrick onto a whole new path of crime solving in a new venue. They kept a few of the same people but changed the setting and the institution, and then added some interesting new people. It was, in my mind, a pretty smart reboot.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah Dave; I suspect that you may be right. J.H. Wyman said after he finally put Peter and Olivia together on Fringe in season 4 that he had been taught in school that audiences love angst so long that you finally get the couple together. Sorry, but no one asked me. I think that that’s a cop-out. Committed couples have issues (probably more than most people still looking) and the drama/angst/happy/sad…you name it; it’s there. I’ve been married for more than 27 years and the adventure continues to this day. They sell their audience short by not looking inward at that. Hart to Hart was great, but can you imagine what Chuck and Sarah could have been 20 years later? The mind boggles.

      • atcDave says:

        Interesting. The television season schedule is among the biggest handicaps to serialized story-telling for me. Normally you can say “its only January, nothing important will happen…” I suppose we carry that argument even further, I know I’ve encountered it in a book where I’m thinking “150 pages left, something else must go wrong…”
        But I really like the idea of big twists or resolution at truly unexpected intervals. It can be one of the joys of reading fan fiction as it comes out (“Is this the climax? Or is something not as it seems?”). Obviously that can be taken too far. I know I’ve seen poorly timed twists that fail to satisfy because they seem too out of the blue.

        I may have to check out Mentalist. I know among my biases against has just been the whole obviously ripping off Psych except with a more serious show. Which just seems painfully backwards to me. How many good dramas were inspired by outrageous comedy? Is there a dramatic version of “Who’s on First?”

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah revdr, exactly. At 17 years I’d say the same thing, marriage is more exciting and interesting than courtship.

      • andereandre says:

        These degenerate Hollywood types took 2 1/2 season to get them together, and then gave us 2 1/2 season of a committed couple who were prepared to die for each other.
        Sometimes I think people here are unfair to the show runners.

      • atcDave says:

        Andre its a lifetime of watching television. Chuck did great compared to 90% of what’s on television. BUT, they fell into a very tired trap of dragging out wt/wt too long. It’s extra disappointing because for two seasons this looked like a team that might avoid such tired cliches.
        And you’re right in way. TPTB DID get it right and move on in way few television shows ever do. But I’ll always be cranky about 12 episodes that scream “well we know what we need to next but we’re too scared to do it”. Those 12 episodes undermine so much that was wonderful both before and after.

      • andereandre says:

        Yes Dave, I know you are cranky about those episodes. But you paint with a broad brush when you say “But I think right from film school they’re taught the story ends with the committed couple”. We know they planned to have them together in 3.13 and whether that part of the season was badly executed or not you have to be fair to them and acknowledge that.
        I guess I am a bit cranky, There was some TPTB bashing again in the comments above (not talking about this thread), I always find that disgusting.

      • atcDave says:

        They planned on putting them together in 3.13 WHEN they thought that was the end of the series. NBC told them there was little chance of additional episodes when they first crafted the S3 front arc. So yeah, I’m not inclined to give much credit for the 3.13 decision.
        3.14 is a different story. I think they evaluated where they were at, and where their audience was at, and knew they had to move forward. I’ll always say they reached the decision to late, but at least they did it. It gives them partial credit. And they created an awesome product going forward.

        Obviously criticism is always a fine line. Sorry if you see it as “bashing”. But seriously, I’m not going to pull back on the defects I see. I think I’m also effusive in praise. Pro/Con analysis is a common part of many sorts of reviews. Praise is meaningless if it isn’t honest, and it can’t be honest if complaints are ignored. We’ve had this discussion here a few times; we always want to be clear that this site exists because we love the show. But it isn’t an unconditional sort of love (!). There’s a greater context of life experience, personal taste and way too many television shows. Chuck is my all time favorite show, but it wasn’t perfect. And broadly speaking I like the characters better than many of the story choices.

      • You guys both have a point, but I’d like to split the difference. I definitely agree with andre that people on this site bash TPTB WAY too much, and its frustrating that in a show where people agree with 80% of their decisions, that we focus on the other 20%. Especially when it would’ve been very easy for TPTB to mess with the C/S relationship or break them up intermittently, as several lesser shows have done. Their portrayal of C/S in those last 2 1/2 years was beautifully done.

        With all that said, the problem isn’t the final result, it’s the process by which they came to it. The romance angle in season 3.0 was such a dishonest ploy that it disgusted people who loved the show. The idea that these two people would not have sat down and talked to each other before Pink Slip, that SHAW, of all people, would get between them, did not follow the world they themselves had created.

        In other words, I think andre’s right about the general tone towards Fedak et all, but that Dave’s point in regards to this specific issue is inescapable.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur I agree with all of your show analysis.

        But not so much on the nature of our criticism. If you look at the tone of our posts, excluding S3, you’ll see almost entirely positive descriptions. Even when you look at discussion here I see mostly positive and fun commentary. Most bickering is just among ourselves as we fine tune our opinions and positions. Most actual criticism of the show is pretty minor stuff (too much Morgan, Chuck too whiny, minor plot holes).
        But there obviously a few hot buttons that generate much more passion. S3 and the very end probably being the two biggest. I like to point out these topics are generally “popular”; they get many people involved whenever they come up, and our site traffic goes way up. But that said, S3 has not been discussed here very much since well, we finished the S3 portion of our re-watch. We now approaching the point where finale discussion will be unavoidable. And it really will be unavoidable. So much of the season feeds into that ending. A lot of what we’ll discuss has to do with all the clues and foreshadowing that inform the ending. But criticism and complaining will be a part of that discussion too. We will try to keep it civil, we always do (seriously, go to the discussion boards at most other show sites, or even IMDb if you want to see ugly). Our motto here is that we only write what we’d be willing to show a member of the cast, crew, or their family. So no personal insults, no foul language, no disrespect. But that doesn’t mean no firm or passionate opinions. That’s what keeps this place fun and alive.

      • mr2686 says:

        Arthur, this is one of the very few times I’ll have to disagree with something you said. You said “The idea that these two people would not have sat down and talked to each other before Pink Slip, that SHAW, of all people, would get between them, did not follow the world they themselves had created”. My goodness, Chuck was never a good communicator, at least at the beginning of any particular scenario. He was always trying to out guess Sarah in what she wanted, and asking other people what they thought instead of her. That WAS the Chuck character, and for that matter, the Sarah character as well. I think they were very true to character, but the problem is that the fans didn’t want them to be like that at that point. For me, and I’ve said this several times and several people disagree with me, but this show got these characters together a lot quicker than a lot of other shows. I just got done with another rewatch and I still find it hard to believe there is so much hatred for season 3. Now, I understand that from some of the people that were watching it in real time (with the schedule delays etc), but when I see new people come on here and regurgitate what some of the people are saying on here, then I’m really baffled. Season 3 just doesn’t play that bad when watching on DVD and watching several episodes at a time. Just my opinion, and I know it’s not shared by many here.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah not shared by all MR! I would agree with saying in a real time sense they moved the relationship along pretty quickly; but every show is unique, and I think a very fast pace was taken for Chuck right from the very start.
        And although I would have loved a Chuck/Sarah heart to heart in early S3, I would agree that is neither in keeping with the characters or the show itself. But I think much of the problem comes down to how horribly, how contemptibly Chuck behaved in the early part of the season. And that means specifically how he treated both Sarah and Hannah. And that is really critically important to me. Its not a small thing like Chuck being too whiny or too much the buffoon. This plays directly to what I think of the character and how much I can enjoy the show.
        So although I could entertain a scenario where Chuck and Sarah don’t get together until 3.13 that might have worked for me, the one they delivered pointedly did not. I would have preferred a scenario where the main characters were a couple from the very start of S3. But I might have enjoyed some sorts of delaying tactics. Especially if it involved them really fighting for each other. But giving up and wandering apart is a non-starter for me.

      • mr2686 says:

        Dave, I understand you not liking how Chuck treated Hannah, but it was crucial to his character’s development. It wasn’t until Hannah told him he wasn’t a nice guy, that he realized that (not a nice guy) was what he was becoming while he was trying to be the type of spy he thought was “perfect” (like Bryce). I see that as rock bottom for him and the start of the way up that leads him back to winning Sarah. As for how he treated Sarah? C’mon, she was leading him on through the first 2 season with how they could be together if he wasn’t a spy or asset, and then as soon as he gets the intersect removed, she tells him she’s going away to work with Bryce. Sure, she didn’t end up going, but it was just as devastating to him then as Pink Slip was to her. This was a rollercoaster ride which made Honeymooners and beyond that much sweeter.

      • atcDave says:

        Well you know we’ve been going over this for four years. I’m not going to suddenly like it. And I’ll never see a thing necessary about Chuck not being a nice guy or hitting rock bottom, any more than its “necessary” for me to visit Effingham Illinois in 2015. It was just a story telling decision that I loath. And I do, deeply and profoundly loath the depths they took the characters and show to in S3.

      • Mr., I didn’t mean to ignore you, but see my response to Chris’ thread below; I think they catch your argument as well.

    • Chris Byrnes says:

      Yeah guys your right on so many levels, but remember this

      Morgan: Let me ask the question again. Why wont you call this giirl?

      See even in the beginning Chuck realized his place and it is the same problem even in season 4; The question is why is a beautiful woman talking to me? any nerd wonders.

      than he didn’t want to show her around town until Morgan said oh yeah he is free. Which makes me think that Chuck was always skeptical of Sarah throw in the knowledge of Bryce and her made him really reluctant in the beginning.

      However after the real photo from sandworm, the physical touching gives Chuck the idea there could be something there. In Truth, Chuck was asking the question, but not for a relationship to confirm what he already knew which was she was only there to protect him. It was easy to seek a relationship for him.
      It was Sarah who was not being truthful.

      My favorite scene in HS is at the club when Sarah interferes with the date and intentionally looks at Lou while telling Chuck are you ok. There was two missions going on here one to find out about the cargo and two to ruin Chuck’s date
      Watching her expression in the van was the beginning of the wall cracking. than throw in Chuck and her dying the walls were down.
      So until the first kiss Chuck was not really a willing dance partner

      • joe says:

        It was Sarah who was not being truthful.
        Perhaps it was a little more complicated than that, Chris. Remember, Chuck didn’t ask “Sarah Walker, do you love me?” in Truth (that question came much later). He asked (I think I have the quote right) “Our thing, under the undercover thing. Is this ever going anywhere?”

        I’m sure she didn’t think so. Agents weren’t supposed to get romantically involved and worse, Sarah was actively trying to not live up to her reputation for doing just that.

        I’m sure she knew exactly what he was asking, though. So yeah, Sarah was certainly being “careful” with the truth here, if not exactly dishonest.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s exactly how I saw it Joe. Chuck asked the question in way she could answer truthfully. Even if it wasn’t the truth she wanted (Imagine if Chuck had asked “do you WANT it to go anywhere?”!). Of course its funny how wrong she will be.

      • andereandre says:

        I really liked what they did with the question in Truth. At first viewing I heard a definite no to a question which on further analysis was not asked; Chuck did too of course.
        That kind of subtlety makes it so much fun to revisit Chuck episodes (and the coarse humor of course).

    • Chris Byrnes says:

      Yes falling is the right word and it does not lead to actual want to be together until the last two episodes of season 2. and we can throw in Day 564 into that equation. which I feel is between Predator and broken heart because of the reaction she gives to Chuck when finding out he is on a rogue mission. It was not a handler’s reaction thats for sure.

  13. Chris Byrnes says:

    If we are going to look at the writing of the show than we need to take a look at the overall series rather than just the certain sections of the show that were weak. Bulk of the show was season 2 to season 4 an average of 20 episodes per season. In that span you are not going to be able to write 20 episodes that everyone will like. Even in a 12 episode season there are two or three that I can do without.
    For example, I am not too thrilled with Broken Heart; I don’t like Alex Forrest because to me she really was someone that rubbed me wrong. However, the key areas with the important arcs were well done. Special guests were written in perfectly. From Roan to Steve Austin, they all contributed to the story/ No show is perfect.
    If you can say that out of 91 episodes maybe half of them were great your really doing well.
    One of the things I love about this site is we are able to voice our opinions and not be told our opinions are wrong or stupid. I know I just joined this site, but I am having fun.
    Regarding the last scene, even if Sarah didn’t get her memories back, I would like to believe that she was starting to look like she was ready to give a chance again. Memories may be lost but emotions never go as some of you said and I believe it.

    • atcDave says:

      Well, I think both big picture and individual episodes are legitimate discussions. The show runner sets the outline, pace and major themes; and obviously looking at those sorts of issues is a very big part of what we’ve always done here.
      While individual episodes are written by a rotation of staff writers with differing strengths and styles.
      What we think of the show, or at least what I think of the show, is a combination of both elements.
      It all has to mesh together. When doing an episode to episode re-watch it is often easiest to look at the specific episode. Part of the point though in doing this re-watch, in the context of the full, complete series, is to look at how those episodes and the series as a whole play together. In the past, we have done a number of more thematic and arc based posts.
      For now, the plan is to look at evaluating the seasons and series as a whole in the six weeks after we do 5.13. Really exactly for the reason that how it all works together is of critical importance in our view of the series.

    • revdr says:

      Chris, I agree with you to a certain point, but there were very few low points in season 2 (IMO) as opposed to season 3-4 where the writing became a much bigger factor given budget cuts just to keep the show alive. Season 3 could have very easily killed Chuck given the ratings and overall negative criticism for the misery arc. It was a very loyal, vocal and proactive fanbase and a surprisingly supportive NBC that got us a full season 4 and especially season 5. In reality, had it not been for the writer’s strike in season 1, I honestly don’t think that we would have made it this far. As to the ending scene, I’ll agree that emotionally, she is drawn to Chuck, but come on, this is still a woman who doesn’t remember the last 5 years (years-not days or weeks or ever months) but years of her life. It would be unrealistic to believe that she would get up from that beach and just say “let’s go home Chuck”. She doesn’t remember him, she only knows what she has been told and what she read. Does she trust him? Yes. Is she drawn to him emotionally? Absolutely. But to use her own words she needs to “find herself”. Will Chuck be a part this? Sure, but there has to be some healing, inwardly, before she can throw herself into a relationship. The writer got it wrong.

      • Chris Byrnes says:

        I love the way you think. The way you feel about the ending. I feel the same and even more so in the beginning. I will argue til i am blue in the face that Sarah didn’t fall in love with Chuck. However, I do feel she started to like him. My argument is how could she move on from Bryce so quickly especially when he was killed the day before. What kind of woman is Sarah than if she did move on that quickly.

        However, I do think she was starting to remember some things. Three things she did in the final episode that showed me she was starting to remember some things. 1. Weinerlicous– She remembered how to set up the counter. 2. She remember the Demova virus 2. She went to the beach. While it is minor, it is steps forward from 5/12
        I also don’t see anything wrong with them trying to work things out by starting fresh

    • revdr says:

      Thanks Chris, I appreciate the kindness. Really, I don’t think that this is about Bryce. This solely about Sarah and her state of mind. Emotionally, right now Sarah is someone who just wants some direction. She has no job, a husband that she doesn’t know and a life she cant remember. It goes totally against the grain of who Sarah is. She needs to be in control. And while I can really get behind the notion of the role reversal of Chuck now being her handler, unless her memories came flooding back while they were sitting on that beach (a theory that I don’t buy), they both have a new journey ahead of them. So, in the end, we have another “to be continued” with only ambiguity and no answers.

      • atcDave says:

        Well revdr I do disagree with a lot of that. You describe Sarah just before the last four minutes of the show, but omit the last scene. We SAW an emotionally open and honest Sarah in those last four minutes that was radically unlike her pre-Chuck character. She is ready to reclaim her life and says as much when she asks for “our” story. She turned down Beckman’s job offer to “find herself”, and that’s exactly what she is doing as the show ends. And it completely parallels how Morgan reconnected with himself at the end of Frosted Tips. Ellie told us hearing about his past would help Morgan to reconnect his emotions to his memories. So the same applies to Sarah, once she starts reconnecting what she’s already feeling with her past it stands to reason recovery will come quickly. In addition to what we saw on screen, the writer has told us that is what happened. I think the more pessimistic view is simply not supported by what we saw. You’re free to not like the end, but I think you’re taking it to the point of misrepresenting it. We DID see a recovery more than start, we saw it well underway. Not to say there wouldn’t be challenges ahead, but I think “take me home” is almost certainly the next line. Either that or they get busted for lewd conduct right there on the beach…

      • revdr says:

        Dave my friend; I really wish that it was as simple as you make it out to be. I could be more amiable to accepting that POV if that final scene had a header that said 4 weeks later or something to that effect. That the writer tells me (after the fact, btw) that that is what happened doesn’t make it so since he also says that they get to fall in love all over again…kind of contradictory to me. I’m not saying that they don’t find their way back to each other; on the contrary, all I’m saying is that as hopeful as that scene was, and it was hopeful, it wasn’t clear. If that’s the way it truly was, then why not show us that? Sarah was still searching while sitting on that beach, knowing somehow that it had some significance, but not knowing what. Chuck had to tell her. That’s the point, she had to be told. And being told “our story” doesn’t mean that she remembered any of it. I know that they are inexorably linked but come on, that’s just far fetched. I really am not being pessimistic, I’m just taking a more realistic point of view. No one wants Chuck and Sarah to be happy more than I but, I refuse to let the writer off the hook that easily. He messed up. That’s why he felt the need to cover his bases after the damage had been done.

      • noblz says:

        revdr, atcDave

        I’ve stayed away waiting for the finale to actually come up, but…

        I am with the group that does not automatically believe that Sarah “finding herself” means finding herself without Chuck.

        I feel that she is intelligent and knows, objectively, that she was happily married to this man and when she says she needs to find herself, not only does it include Chuck but it depends on Chuck. This is what leads to her asking for “our story” and her quite open reaction to it..

        Anyway, that’s how I interpreted the last scene. Just my $37 and change.

      • oldresorter says:

        Yes Noblz. I think the end on the beach was written more positive than the fan base makes it out to be. Since she rejected wanting to know her story, in the restuarant, and from morgan in the castle, then asked without prompting on the beach, I think the end was written to show she was ready to find herself, her old self on the beach.

        The denying the opportunity to hear about the past twice b4, then doing it at the end, shows an intent from the story teller, and is the typical tease, angst, st/st type writing that Chuck employed. Same with the magic kiss, the script talked about it, several opportunities for the kiss were teased, then at the end, we got a kiss, showing a positive intention.

        So, I do think the ending was meant to be happy, a good solid C ending, in what amounted to FOR ME a pair of D/F type episodes to say ‘goodbye’ to Chuck and Sarah. I think if the ending had been magically happy somehow (there are a near infinite ways to show she recovered), the final episode might become a C/D, and the ending an A+.

        I think the showrunner interviews, where they talk about ambiguity, the end can mean whatever you want it to, etc probably contributes to my own dissatisfaction as much as anything. Otherwise, I’d probably be content to agree with those who felt the end was happy, even though a weak happy for how miserable the final two episodes were.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with a lot of that Jason. Although I think I rank the episodes higher overall than you do. And I would clarify we heard from CF many times that the ambiguity was only about how the memories returned, there should be no doubt that Chuck and Sarah are fine.
        I can certainly understand disliking the finale, and disliking that artsy ambiguity. But much of this pessimism is dishonest to the show and story teller. It involves ignoring much that was shown, especially at the end.

      • Angus MacNab says:

        Dave, my wife and I had a long discussion about this after watching the Goodbye for the second time, and we both came to the conclusion that Sarah might not have gone home with Chuck right away, based on two things. One was the somewhat (and arguably) chaste nature of the kiss at the end that signaled that perhaps Sarah was still tentative about where she was going with Chuck, and when she kept her hands in her lap. While she seemed to be having fun and was emotionally engaged during Chuck’s telling of her story, her body language was saying something else during that kiss. The second was the basic human psychology of brain trauma victims taken in context with Sarah’s own back story and strong desire to avoid emotional attachments that became so ingrained in her from the time she was a little girl.

        My wife said to me, and I’m paraphrasing what I asked her to reiterate this morning so I’d get it right: “Honey, she’s heard the story, but she may still need some time to absorb it and connect all the dots. It’s not going to happen for her right away if that kiss wasn’t magical, and it didn’t look like it was for her to me. So she might still need some time to ‘find herself’ and where she fits in before she makes that leap. What she’s heard conflicts a lot with who she thinks she is without those five lost years. I think there’s a strong possibility she’d still need to confront and sort her emotions out some more, maybe even panic and run from it for a while in her own very Sarah way.”

        A woman’s perspective from one who really likes, and I think understands Sarah Walker’s character. You can also see where the title for my story came from.

        I saw it much the same way, and it heavily influenced the start of my post finale story. Personally, what I think happened with the final beach scene, was a simple case of poor execution of Chris’s intent by Neil when he directed it, with almost catastrophic results for a lot of us viewers. It was cold that day, and both Zac and Yvonne have said they were freezing, so things may have been rushed during the shooting because of it. If you look at production stills of Yvonne, and in fact, a couple of actual shots in that scene, you’ll see that she has a tendency to pull her hands into her sleeves when she’s cold. There’s a really cute picture of her doing it only a few days ago wearing a great big coat on the set of 24 in London.

        I think her hands were in her sleeves during that kiss, and her body language was also a little stiff, because she was cold. Frankly, if I’d have been in Chris’s shoes and saw that scene in the editing room, I would have made Neil take Zac, Yvonne, and the whole crew right back out to that beach and re-shoot the entire scene. Screw the budget or schedule. So much of his intent for that ending hung on that scene and kiss at the end, and in my humble opinion, that’s where it failed him, from the mixed results the fans saw on the screen.

      • atcDave says:

        Angus I’m really not bothered if it actually took a couple days or weeks before Sarah was ready to move home. But that isn’t how I read the scene. I do agree the staging is a bit “cold”, and it’s funny that is literally true, but I still see so much warmth in the discussion and dialogue. I buy the most wildly optimistic ending imaginable. And my wife disagrees with your wife. So there.

      • Angus MacNab says:

        So there! Ha!

        Guess I’ll have to be happy I found some consensus in our own household.

      • Chris Byrnes says:

        First off there are actually only two episodes for me I actually skip over just to avoid the anguish and that is Pink Slip and Broken Heart. I mean the ending of Broken Heart is touching, but to sit through an episode with Alex Forrest is pure torture to my eyes and ears.

        I actually think the worse episode in the entire 91 episodes is 3D because it really didn’t add anything to the overall story. regarding dark episodes I rather watch 12 dark episodes in the middle of a series than when the series is going out.

        Episode 5/12 bothers most people because of the hard work the two put into the relationship to see what I saw is just really bad timing for the episode to be aired. I bet if the last two episodes took place earlier in the season maybe we are not talking about this.

        I already feel the kinks were to starting to where off because of Sarah ability to remember the importance of the beach. Her expression while look at Chuck and asking for him to tell their story was one of wanting to hear it. So whether it works or not is not the issue. Its the feeling that once again Charah are on the road to recovery.

        I tell you what if they survive this, which they look like they were beginning to do. There really isn’t anything that will keep them apart. The only exception is death really.

      • oldresorter says:

        An unhappy comedy is a pretty lousy proposition. For those of us that viewed Chuck as comedy (I never watch comedy, love drama, for me, Chuck ain’t even close to real drama, yet its goofy, wanky ways got to me, somewhere between the ballerina and difusing a bomb with a porn virus – i.e. all comedy).

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I do like comedy, and I agree with calling Chuck mostly a comedy. It’s mostly the heart of the show, the characters, especially Chuck and Sarah that make it more than just a comedy.

      • joe says:

        Chris, although I see Jason’s (OldResorter’s) point on an unhappy comedy being a big fail, I’m with you on this one.
        For me, “love it” is great, “hate it with a passion” is nearly as great, but “meh – I’m indifferent” is the kiss of death. Only 3-D comes close to leaving me feeling that way, for just the reasons you said.

        Most here don’t agree and I accept it. But I’ll take passion anytime – even if it’s passionate hate – over feeling nothing.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I have a bit of a context problem with that argument. I mean, we’re all here because we love Chuck, so indifference doesn’t really play into it. For a show I already love I could tolerate a lot of mediocre/indifferent episodes before I lost heart. But my capacity for episodes I hate is severely limited. S3 pushed it to the breaking point. Third Dimension or Murrrder never came close.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Chris, I cant stand Alex Forrest, but I still loved Broken Heart.

      • oldresorter says:

        Joe – I feel what most Chuck eps makes me feel when the real life actors get together and interview.

        I like the 8 minute 4 person goodbye clip from the real life actors MORE than the two 40 minute episodes saying goodbye.

        I once blogged, C and S reading the declaration of independence to each other would have been more enjoyable than s3, the phone book too.

        They have no trouble getting me to enjoy the actors, near ANY script can do it, as long as it has a component of happiness and fun.

        The show just was too silly to pull off dark, mean spirited plots (FOR ME).

      • joe says:

        I think for context Dave, I’m really only talking about the one episode making me feel meh. In a way, I feel no passion either for or in 3-D. It does little, if anything, to carry the story forward and IIRC only provides a barely satisfactory final statement on the Mauser Incident. If we never had it, I don’t think anything else would have been different (including the fact that the fans would want a better explanation for “Mauser”).

        To me, that’s a fail.

        I come away wincing at the Chuck we saw in Pink Slip and how he regressed to a lethargic, do-nothing loser. I hate the idea of Sarah carousing poolside with some rich playboy even if it’s strictly for a mission. I’m not troubled by how they broke up in Prague or the reasons given anywhere near as much as I’m distressed that they broke up at all.

        And even the fact of the break-up wasn’t all that troubling to me – I knew that part of the story was inevitable. What I found hard to take was the amount of time they spent broken up and how far apart they became (for that, understand I mean “Hannah” and “Shaw”).

        But all of that was still showing me passion and left me feeling very strongly that C&S needed to be together or be destroyed as people. Live or die. Now *that’s* drama and that’s passion! It made me cry for them, if only in pain.

        But hey, I always said that’s what floats my boat, right? 😉

        Ack! Chuckwin’s law reigns supreme! Count me guilty of participating in The Goodbye discussions too!

      • resorter, fans of Louie would disagree with your unhappy comedy comment. With that said, I don’t think most people on this site are coming back to Chuck for its comedy aspects. I think it’s a jack-of-all-trades show before any of its single aspects. Certainly the comedy becomes less and less of the priority as it ages. And when people list their favorite episodes, it’s usually not the funnies episodes, but the most heartwarming or powerful ones – Honeymooners, Phase 3, Goodbye, Push Mix, Ring/Colonel, etc.

        Chris, I totally agree about the ending. Not only are they on the road to recovery, but they’re just inevitably drawn towards each other.

      • mr2686 says:

        I must say that Broken Heart was one of my least favorite episodes, mainly because I couldn’t stand Agent Forrest, but now that I’ve seen Tricia Helfer in some other stuff, I realize she’s a very good actress that made me hate her character. That made me take off the blinders and realized the episode was actually pretty good.

  14. Chris Byrnes says:

    Joe and Dave,
    it s interesting to read on this site how much people hate the middle of season 3. I understand a lot of people are down on the Shaw character because of what he did to the relationship of Charah, but really Shaw was not the reason for the problems that were going on in the season. Three things happened. 1. Prague was clearly an issue for the first 12 episodes 2. Chuck becoming a spy was the second and the third was Chuck was finally cracking with not being able to tell his friends and family about his secret life

    Did Shaw take advantage of the situation absolutely. He still didn’t know who really killed his wife, and I am actually going to defend Sarah here. Four times Chuck broke up with her, three times he went with other women. In that span, Sarah flirted with Cole but never acted on it. She was over Bryce
    and to use the words of Elle and Devon in season 2, If you don’t get her back…you may never get her back.. This time we have Sarah pissed off about Prague and Chuck turning into someone she didn’t fall in love what is Sarah suppose to do. Her world was turned up side down by a guy she didn’t think would do that.

    Shaw is not the problem here. I love Fake Name because it showed the maturity. How he was able to portray Rafe do you think Chuck would of done that in the first two seasons. This was also done without the intersect. I am also a little bias because of the Soprano guest stars I also like American Hero because its the lead into the other guy much like how Fear of Death is the start of Phase Three. What I like about American Hero is it is another example of Chuck becoming comfortable in his skin as a spy. Helping Shaw was something that he was suppose to do.
    I also love Nacho Sampler and Tic Tac with similar scenes mentioned above. I don’t like buffoon Chuck because he is so much better than that. especially when the man takes down Alexei Volkoff or is the one who finds Orion (really Orion found him) Season 3 for me is my favorite season for that very reason.

    • Well Chris, hopefully the Chuck This TPTB won’t see fit to expunge us for yet another S3 discussion. 😉 I don’t completely disagree with your macro analysis of Shaw’s decisions. It’s just that this misses the criticism of S3. As I see it (others, like Dave and uplink, are even more negative than I am), there were three major flaws with 3.0:

      1. The method by which C/S break up in Pink Slip is badly out of character. There’s simply no possible way Chuck wouldn’t discuss the reasons for his decision of Sarah. If either one of them behaves like an adult, they simply stay together as spies and move forward. Chuck is my favorite show of all time, and I literally stopped watching it after Pink Slip because it was such an absurd roadblock to their relationship. Everything that happens after Pink Slip is tainted by the fact that its premise is unbelievable.

      2. Shaw is poorly written and acted. This is important, because you’re right: if we accept the C/S plot premise established in Pink Slip (which I don’t), there’s nothing particularly wrong with that overall Shaw plot line. The problem with it is that Routh is “stiff as a board” and the writers made him a very weak and unrelatable character. In a sense, that’s good, because it makes Chuck look better in comparison. But it also makes him a very transparent plot device at best, and a lazy “ctrl-z” on Colonel/Ring at worst.

      3. The writing and character development in 3.0 is sloppy. I know I just went on a rant about how people on this site are too hard on the writers, but 3.0 is the exception. I have no fundamental problem with Chuck going a bit darker – I love S5 and Goodbye, after all! But going dark works when a character is surrounded by harsher circumstances (S5). That just makes us root for the characters we love even harder. When the writers make the characters themselves weaker and less relatable – especially characters and lovely as Chuck and Sarah – all it does is disenfranchise the fanbase. Dave explains this point better than I do, but S3.0 sees the team (mostly Chuck) simply making poor and weak decisions that they had already outgrown.

      With all that said, I really enjoy Shaw as a villain – He’s my second-favorite after Volcoff. Starting in American Hero, I think Shaw adds a lot to the show. And overall, Chuck is still my favorite show ever. But for about 7 episodes of 3.0, it’s a show that I really dislike, and that just sucks.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow Arthur, we’re really completely on the same page with all of that. Shaw may be emblematic for many fans of what went wrong with S3, but really, he is just a small part of it. And neither the beginning nor the end. Of the six people I know who quit watching in S3 (I mean personal friends, not e-friends!) they ALL quit during or after Pink Slip (before Three Words). So I think Pink Slip is where we need to look for the start of the problems, at least it is for me. And as you put so well, its largely about bad, unbelievable, out of character decisions made by Chuck. I do think “going dark” plays into it too; at least to say Pink Slip was a depressing and largely humorless episode. Those who quit had been drawn to the joyful and upbeat nature of the characters and story that were typically a big part of Chuck. During and after Pink Slip those viewers all decided they didn’t recognize this show or these characters anymore. It wasn’t what they signed up for, so they quit.

        And as you say, some of the later, even worse episodes (Mask, Fake Name) are bad in large part because of how they build off of a beginning many of us had already rejected. My usual assessment of S3 is fatally flawed at conception. And I think it was, separating Chuck and Sarah for most of the season (ALL of the season as far as they knew, the back order came later), and introducing yet another round of love triangles was guaranteed to be rejected by many viewers. But it was fatally flawed at inception too; the season premier was depressing and not the sort of episode many Chuck fans would tolerate.

        BTW, as far as overall popularity among viewers and the fandom goes; S3 is a MUCH bigger problem than the ending. Our polls look like less than 20% of viewers really had a problem with the end. While S3 has 41% angry and hostile, and almost 80% mostly unhappy with it.

      • Well, we had to get on the same page at some point! 😉

        You know, as low as the Mask polled on here, Pink Slip is by far my least favorite episode of Chuck. I can watch the Mask; I cannot bring myself to ever watch Pink Slip again. It’s heartbreaking, and in all the wrong ways. The only part where I disagree with Dave is about “going dark.”

        vs. Sarah is a dark, dark episode, IMO the darkest of the series. And it’s easily a top-10 episode for me. The scene where they’re back in the dream house is heartbreaking, but it’s also tragically beautiful, because you can absolutely empathize with Chuck’s pain. Zach gives his best acting performance of the series, and Yvonne’s versatility and range of emotions is masterful. Everything from her murderous stare while she hugs Chuck to her “I’m in love with Chuck Bartowski” hits the nail right on the head. And for all that people dislike the amnesia premise, it’s woven completely into the story, the characters react as they should, and their responses are wonderfully written.

        Pink Slip isn’t heartbreaking because C/S are confronted with something horrible, as in vs. Sarah. It’s heartbreaking because these two people who we’ve grown to care about, who have been shown over and over again to care incredibly deeply about each other, independently destroy everything they’ve risked their lives to build.

        Throughout the first two years of Chuck, we watch C/S ache for each other, and we’re implicitly shown that only incredible circumstances are keeping them apart. In spite of those circumstances, they still end up together because their love is too strong to allow any other result. And in Pink Slip, they just throw all they’ve worked to build in the garbage, all because they couldn’t have possibly had a three-minute conversation about it. The writers didn’t just keep C/S apart for an extra 12 episodes, they discarded the single best theme of the show as if it were utterly meaningless.

      • Angus MacNab says:

        It’s really a little sad how the title ‘Pink Slip’ became something of a double entendre for a lot of upset fans.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Angus, exactly!

        Arthur I think there’s just a difference in how we’re defining terms here. The “darkness” I see is all about the characters. In 5.12 we never have cause to dislike Chuck or Sarah, only the circumstance they find themselves in. While in Pink Slip both characters make unappealing decisions, and become jerks (really for much of the season!). THAT is the darkness many can’t tolerate.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree with all of that, Arthur. PS is my bottom of the bottom, and it has never shared that distinction with any other episode. In fact the next to last episode is stratospheres above it. My first reaction after watching was wow, couples just don’t recover from something like that.

        Agree about the amnesia arc as well. I wouldn’t choose it, but it was a legitimate story to pursue (which it often isn’t) and woven into the story in a more believable way than it usually is. The final two episodes were tour de force for both leads, and they did respond in character.

        For the record, I’d rather have dark like the final arc, with CS facing an external threat and getting through it together (even though we don’t see all of it) than like S3 where the darkness is between them and within them.

      • Dave, I agree with all of that; I guess we’re just using our terms differently. Thinkling, also agree. Boring, I know!

      • mr2686 says:

        I just never have had a problem with Pink Slip (although it is in my bottom 10 episodes), whether it was watching it live or on dvd. Now Ex and Mask are another story, not so much because of the themes, but because I think they are just written poorly.

      • atcDave says:

        CaptMediocre that was a very well written commentary. A bit more hostile towards the latter seasons than I would be, but absolutely dead on S3. Really nice summation of what was wrong with Pink Slip, and the story that followed.

  15. Dave and Joe, I wonder if maybe we could do a thread about the ending as a whole after we do Goodbye, and restrict our ending conversations to that single place. Or at least we could shift our convos away from the ending for the time being. It seems like all of these threads are being taken over by discussions of the finale arc (or S3) rather than the individual episodes, which is a bit of a shame.

    The S3 stuff is understandable, since we’ve gotten a few newer commenters (hooray!), who haven’t had the chance to argue it out ad nauseum. Plus, it’s basically a tradition at this point. 🙂 But we’re getting to the ending soon enough; we might as well save ourselves for the time when it comes up.

    I recall a post, I think by Thinkling, that said Goodbye was a great episode and a terrible ending. Regardless of whether I agree, it seems like a good way to evaluate both separately. Plus, it would mean more Chuck convo! 🙂

    Just my $.02

    • Also, I acknowledge that I am completely guilty on both of these fronts 🙂

      • revdr says:

        I’ll admit my complicity as well Arthur, and I apologize for straying off the beaten path. Thing is trying to avoid the hot buttons. Thinkling says that I’m grumpy about the finale and although I like to think that is passion, she’s right, and it’s difficult not to throw my $.02 out there. All of us are obviously very passionate not only the show, but everything about it. The positive thing though, is that we learn from and respect each other’s opinions and look forward to the lively, involved discussion. Pretty amazing for a show that’s been off the air for 2 years.

      • thinkling says:

        Passionately grumpy … I like it 🙂

    • Angus MacNab says:

      Arthur, I was really trying to bite my tongue on that last post, but it fit the discussion here best. I get very self-conscious about hijacking a thread or joining in when it strays, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. I have a lot of thoughts about the final three episodes of the series, probably more than are healthy if I’m going to be honest with myself. I suspect those final threads will be very lively despite the early discussions that will inevitably occur as we head into them.

      • Trust me, I get it. I wasn’t criticizing any individual; I’m one of the worst here at getting wrapped up in these discussions. Perhaps I should follow my own advice!

    • atcDave says:

      A separate “ending” post might be in order. And perhaps some self restraint about discussing it so much until we get there. But it is tough to be too absolute about it, after all, much of the season does foreshadow and inform on the ending.

      Exactly right about S3 though. We call it Chuckwin’s Law. Any Chuck discussion, if it continues long enough, will eventually become an S3 discussion!

  16. Chris Byrnes says:

    When it comes to shows I am not a big fan of the heroes always come out on top. Even if its fiction. even if its entertainment. I agree with Thinkling in real life what happen in Prague would of put most relationships in the dead category. The biggest problem I have with season 5 is how the episodes aired.

    For example, in baby Sarah didn’t follow what she said previously with regards to her relationship with her mother. I have mentioned I didn’t like how they used a character like Quinn, and the reality is with 13 episodes for the final season there really is no way to build on a story.
    it almost seemed like the show had so many stories to still tell, but NBC pulled the plug, so they decided to just put everything in.yet this left so many questions still to be answered.

    It almost leaves a possibility of a return some day. However, if they did do that they should not wait too long while the story is still fresh in people’s head. What did Sopranos in was the 3 year break in the middle of the series and the writing of the final season just throwing episodes in without merit to the story.

    We as fans though should always feel that at least for 91 episodes were treated to a show that will survive the test of time because of the fans, actors and their characters story. Charah will go down as the best on screen couple because of the chemistry on and off camera. For 5 years the cast remained close and this is what stands out most to me with the series. I love watching the gag reels because it showed even Yvonne was down with the crowd. So many sex symbols like Yvonne let it get to their head which ultimately destroys casts. Not on Chuck. We watched a family working together and performing like a family.

    • atcDave says:

      I certainly agree they left things wide open for a reunion some day. But the show runner did know S5 was probably the end before they ever started it, and they knew for sure well before the finale was ever shot. I’m not sure if anyone actually wanted it to end, but they did know 5.13 was probably it.

      I’m not sure what you see as a big problem with Emma’s story. Prior to Baby we’d only had one line even referencing Sarah’s mom; in CAT Squad she simply said her relationship with her mom was beyond difficult. No doubt, what we learned in Baby is probably not what any of us were expecting, but I think it fits well with Sarah’s earlier description.

      • Chris Byrnes says:

        In Famliy Volkoff, on the mountain she explains that her relationship with her mom was estranged. Her mother was the reason behind the prenup. She protected the money in case her father got arrested again.
        This to me was thrown out of left field when all of a sudden. A baby was the reason for it or was it the con life that her father brought her into. There is a disconnect here

      • thinkling says:

        I believe she told Ellie that her relationship with her mother was (e)strange(d). It was hard to hear. All she told Casey was that she was caught in the middle between her parents. Baby doesn’t necessarily contradict that. I didn’t think saving money in case her dad got into trouble had anything to do with her mother. That was just how it was with her dad.

      • atcDave says:

        Apart from being caught in the middle as a child, she really said nothing at all about her mom in Family Volkoff. I guess we can infer Sarah though she was the only person who would be there for her dad, but that is not refuted by Baby either.

        I think its safe to say Emma’s story is not what any of us were expecting. But it really is not contradicted anywhere.

  17. Chris Byrnes says:

    I am not saying that it was a bad episode. I am not even saying I dislike the baby and mother being brought into the story on the stand part of establishing the relationship between Sarah and her mother, but if the reason she was not in contact with her mother because of the baby that is one thing, but It was assumed in the Delorean episode that her mother was not thrilled with Jack that Sarah was in on some of his con jobs.

    • atcDave says:

      No mention was made of mom at all in DeLorean. Even so, your assumption is completely reasonable, and completely consistent with everything we later learned. Including Emma’s disappointed comment in Baby that young Sarah was always running off with her father.

      • Chris Byrnes says:

        I didn’t need for the word mom as a indication, but with Sarah saying I don’t want to live with Grandmother. I only like to put two and two together. Much like I find it annoying that Elle and Chuck didn’t realize after the whole Orion/dad situation that their mother was not involve some how

    • I don’t see the contradiction, Chris. Even in Baby, her mom makes a point of saying she had wanted to give Sarah a “normal” life. There’s no reason why everything you’re saying couldn’t be true; it’s just that Baby wasn’t about telling the story of Sarah’s parents. And Sarah’s is definitely not the worst mother in this show.

      Plus, Baby is just a great episode, and Chuck is not a show that was, shall we say, renowned for its thematic consistency. If Chuck’s finale was Goodbye, then Baby was Sarah’s finale – the episode that really wrapped a bow on how far she had come over the course of the show.

      • Chris Byrnes says:

        Arthur, I agree with your sentiment about the wrap up on Sarah’s life, and do like what she says at the end about Chuck teaching her that it is ok to be surprised.
        and if we are talking about Mary Bartowski than your right. Although Mary never had a choice in the matter. She was handling Hartley.I used handling because I am sure she was there to protect Volkoff much like sarah was there for Chuck in season 1.

        Which is another story they never told. Agent x was just the tip of the story. What was Mary role in the program that was used on Hartley.

      • You know, those back stories, IMO, are the ones that beg for fanfics – the missing details that the show never got to fill in. No offense to the writers, but I’m not much for stories that change or recast the main story or ending. But I wonder there have been any telling the stories of the previous generation?

      • atcDave says:

        Some of that’s been done Arthur. I have seen a few Orion/Mary stories. It’s not at all uncommon for those stories to be worked into longer stories; there have been many takes on how Frost and Orion came to be. Not as much for Sarah since we didn’t even know her mom’s name until the show was almost over. I’m not going to be a good source, it isn’t what I look for, but there definitely has been some. But I think Chuck/Sarah is by far the strongest draw for fanfic writers, probably 80% of what’s out there.

  18. One thing that Joe pointed out, and I kind of glossed over the first time seeing it (because Morgan’s being such a twit), is the depiction of Sarah and Chuck in this episode. One of the more fantastic aspects of the C/S relationship is the way they mature as a couple from S3.5 on. In S4, it seems like every episode there’s a conflict between the two where one lets it fester until it blows up in their faces. I always took this as the writers trying to compensate for the lack of romance angst drama.

    But in Bearded Man, when Morgan posits that Sarah might be handling Chuck, none of that happens. Chuck just asks Sarah what’s happening, and they figure it out. These little touches are all over S5 – aside from Curse and Sarah/Goodbye, Chuck and Sarah don’t really get in fights anymore. They’ve grown into a team that’s completely committed to each other’s well-being; basically the dream everybody has when they get married. Even in late S4, they didn’t really sync the same way they do in S5. It’s part of what makes this my favorite season, even in its worst episodes.

    Also, I love the way Sarah and Casey are just quietly becoming best friends. Sarah’s living through Casey’s love life is just SO typical of married women its hilarious. And Casey’s face while thinking about sleeping with Verbanski is just outright disturbing. 🙂

  19. revdr says:

    Guys; I have to tell you just how difficult it is to re-watch season 5 again. I have managed to watch all of the 13 at least a couple of times (Goodbye only once) but it’s really hard for me. I’m currently watching Frosted Tips and Business Trip in prep for the next couple of weeks discussion, but I can barely manage to get through them. I imagine that for me the reason is two fold: I didn’t like the way the series ended and, I didn’t like that the series ended. It’s really difficult to let go of something that you loved that much Most of us are still in mourning 2 years later, and because in my mind I never got closure, it’s hard to let go. I can watch Fringe, West Wing, Smallville and so many others because in my mind they all had viable endings that I could accept, yet with Chuck in my mind, because there was no real ending it’s a painful process. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • joe says:

      You’re not alone in thinking that there was no closure, Rev. A lot of the fans who’ve commented here in the last two years (and some of us, too!) have said the same thing. But you’re still looking? (Question mark, Spock-eyebrows raised)

      That tells me you haven’t exactly concluded that there is no closure to be found, only that you haven’t found it. It’s a club with a lot of members!

      Speaking only for myself, I had to watch the ending arc at least three times (I’ve seen The Goodbye four times now) before I could stop being sad and feeling hopeless over Sarah’s condition and Chuck’s loss. It took that long before I gathered enough clues to believe the situation was not hopeless for them, but was pointing in a positive direction.

      Not that they had done any more than taken one step down that path (maybe two – 1: Their Story, 2: The Kiss). It’s only a start. Now I’m at the point where I can appreciate the ending as a resting spot. Perhaps it’s a ledge upon which Chuck and Sarah fell. We thought that the fall was a plunge to their deaths, but it wasn’t. They were saved and only one member of the rescue party has just barely peeked over the edge of the cliff. The helicopters haven’t arrived yet to hoist them back to solid ground and we’re far from seeing them climb out, but it’s going to happen.

      Now I can appreciate it as a great starting point for what ever comes next, even if it’s only the story in my imagination.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m definitely at the point where the FACT the series ended bothers me more than the way it did. I feel the loss very deeply. There are other shows I enjoy, some quite a lot, but there is no real replacement for Chuck.
        Joe you are completely right about how the end is such an open ended launching point. I will always wish we had seen some of the happy ending Chuck and Sarah so completely deserved; in fact, just writing those words puts a lump in my throat. It still angers me more than just a little that we never saw those two moving ahead together. What a rip off. Sigh.
        But it did mean a lot of excellent fan fiction, and it may even be part of why this site is so active two years later. I’m still eager for the return of Chuck. And that brings me right back to nothing can replace it…

      • oldresorter says:

        The ending was a cliffhanger. I don’t think its possible to resolve. I do think much of the script in the final ep especially supports a more positive outcome, than many fans are willing to embrace. At least two themes (the magic kiss and listen to your story) were teased twice each I think, then the final two actions were the story being told and a kiss.

        If the final two eps hadn’t been so darned miserable, the ending had an element of niftyness to it.

        A quick scene at a kitchen table, with three kids and a dog, set 5-10 years in the future would have tied a ribbon on it, but these writers simply didn’t have that story in them. Not sure why? I’ll never know? Cause movies really don’t count, the show ended this way. With a cliffhanger. It could have been far worse.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I think a movie could completely fix it for me. But more and more I just think the problem of the end is it left me almost desperate for more. Sure I would have missed the show anyway, but they left in a place where I NEEDED what comes next; and there’s no outlet for that.

      • With you there, Dave. The only show I found that worked as a Chuck replacement was Steins;Gate, but the principals never really got to spend time together the was C/S did. Still looking for another show that’s as satisfying from all angles as Chuck was.

      • authorguy says:

        I don’t think any conclusion would have helped, simply because I want more of C&S. Even if they’d gotten up hand-in-hand and Chuck carried Sarah over the threshold of the house with the red door (the obvious true finale), I’d still want to know what happened next. There are few enough shows with that sort of chemistry (Bones, Wonderfalls) and it’s always a tragedy when they end.

      • atcDave says:

        Well ultimately Marc I agree exactly. But I think Goodbye left a bitter taste for so many viewers, or it left a an overpowering desire for more. I think a more concrete end could have helped many viewers leave the show in peace.

        Now the funny thing is, if we do get a continuation some day, it’s entirely possible that end will come to be seen as a great strength. Because it provides so much energy and passion for getting something else done!

      • authorguy says:

        It did for me. That’s the downside of fanfiction, I guess, the Epilog is so real for me I don’t know how happy I’d bee with a different story in its place! And that may be why they left such a large hook dangling, to inspire exactly this level of passion for a continuation.
        More likely they were just being artsy idiots, though.
        But even if they made a movie I’d want to see more after the movie!

      • atcDave says:

        Oh there’s definitely a very cynical side of me that thought maybe they planned that end on purpose to guarantee they got to do more. But then I listen to a CF interview and think it’s more the artsy thing…

        And I have no doubt the fan fiction thing will present some challenges for many of us accepting whatever story they tell. Especially if it’s felt to be deficient in a big way. But I know I happily accept a dozen or more different post series stories right now, so really, it shouldn’t be a big problem to accept one more. As long as it’s done well.
        But as you say, whatever they do, we’ll always be wanting more!

      • authorguy says:

        I don’t know how it is for other writers, but my stories are canon in my own mind. To write it I have to make it real there first, and then write it down. It’s worse with something like nine2five, where I’m studying the episodes (sometimes on fast forward, like Fake Name) to keep my own versions as close to canon as possible.
        But I’d gladly endure that confusion if it meant we’d get more!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I may be odd man out here, but I thought they wrapped up Chuck at just about the right time considering the story they were telling. That story was a love story about two people, both of whom had to find themselves, and who did so largely through each other. To me that was shown very well in season 5 with the only obstacle to their fully realized dreams being the spy-life they couldn’t seem to extricate themselves from.

      While I understand the end left a lot of people raw I didn’t see it that way. Chuck’s victories have never come cheap and the endings have been a mixed bag of triumph and tragedy. Think him killing Shaw (OK, but we were supposed to sympathize with Chuck having to pull the trigger to save Sarah) or Stephen’s death, or finally capturing Roark, at the cost of ruining Ellie’s wedding. Granted, there was a save in many cases to close out the possible finale, but Chuck and Sarah always were looking at a huge (potential) loss of something for the finales.

      I saw the finale as more of the same. Sarah had suffered a huge loss and Chuck wasn’t sure he could make her whole again. But to me the subtext of the episodes and the same themes present throughout the series was so powerful, even if subtle, that I never doubted a happy ending. You need to really watch to appreciate the stellar job Yvonne did, and her performance really put the whole series and character in context by taking her back to her origins.

      I won’t re-hash again since I’ve written about it extensively here for anyone who is interested.

      • joe says:

        I’m not at all sure you’re alone in thinking that, Ernie. Where are we in Castle now? Season 6? I’d put Rick and Kate at about where Chuck and Sarah were after Honeymooners, or maybe even a touch earlier in S3.

        I know it’s not fair to compare directly, but the pace at which the Charah relationship evolved seems almost perfect to me now. And I’m not at all sure what they could have done in a mythical S6 to make it any better, except to get back to where they were and then have a baby (named Diane? Morgan? Bryce? Stephen? Kalah? Frostie!) Other than that…

      • atcDave says:

        Apart from the mid-series glitch I would agree the relationship developed about ideally. It was so much fun watching Chuck break down Sarah’s defenses in the first couple seasons. And then watching both of them develop into a strong mature couple. But I’d be happy watching that strong mature couple indefinitely. No further growth required, I just want to sit back and enjoy the ride.

        And really that does put them in about the same place Castle is right now.

      • thinkling says:

        Me, too, Dave. That’s how I was going to pick my nursing home … HD Chuck on a big screen. Guess I’ll have to figure out another criteria.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Castle is in an interesting place. The onscreen chemistry has obviously survived “The Moonlighting Curse” (I’d say they stumbled a bit before finding their footing again) and they’ve managed to translate the witty jousting banter into the context of a relationship. It doesn’t really require any growth at this point, as Castle has always been almost entirely procedural, but they can hint at conflict and growth enough through a very few scenes to keep things from going stale.

        But that’s not Chuck and Sarah to me. Their story was about thrilling adventure and saving the world in addition to falling in love, and I feel like it was time for that story to end so they could become that happy mature couple without the specter of one of them being killed on a mission hanging over their heads.

        I think I’ve said this before, but the final scene on the beach, as Chuck walked out to Sarah, I just felt this huge sense of relief. They finally had time for each other with nothing else getting in the way for the first time since that first time on the beach when they were thrown into their double lives together (discounting an impromptu honeymoon on the world’s slowest train). I thought it a fitting end to at least this chapter of their lives.

        Castle doesn’t give me that same feeling. We see Rick and Kate living their lives in the present where Chuck and Sarah were clearly on a journey to a destination. I can watch Castle with no sense that they need to move the characters anywhere, but not so for Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        I hadn’t really noticed a stumble since they put them together, but yeah, the strength of that show is the banter and teasing. And I think they’ve done a very good job of finding the right tone for a happy couple by keeping it fun without being insulting. And that des make it more traditional sort of show than Chuck was; more like Moonlighting or Remington Steele with the banter. While Chuck and Sarah were mostly just sweet together; which is really an uncommon thing!

      • Yes! I forgot Ernie was a member of the “Hey, Goodbye was really good” club. That makes two of us!

      • mr2686 says:

        That makes 3 of us. LOL

      • andereandre says:

        Count me in!

    • Christopher says:

      The issue is not how bad season 5 is for a lot of fans. The biggest reason people don’t like it is the high expectations there was for the Charah relationship to end in a happily ever after moment For me, after the end of season four I can only watch the first two episodes and go back to season one not because I don’t like the episodes, but because I just can’t sit through 5/12.

      Charah to me is really more than just true loves struggling to stay together. Its about soul mates doing whatever it takes to be close together. There was more than enough opportunity for Sarah to leave Burbank in the end. If she truly meant trying to find herself However, I just thought of this. remember what she said to Shaw.

      Sarah Walker: No, it’s not the mission. It’s *everything*. It’s how he pulled out Casey’s tooth, and how he burned that asset a couple weeks ago. And the way he lies to Hannah. I mean, uh, it’s so easy for him. Chuck’s changing.
      Daniel Shaw: Chuck’s becoming a spy.
      Sarah Walker: I know… But lives are being affected here.
      Daniel Shaw: Sounds like he’s not the only one changing.
      Sarah Walker: It’s like I’m watching Chuck disappear, and the further he gets from who he is…The more I want to remember who I am…before all this

      fast forward to the infamous beach scene. Chuck was being Chuck so could it be that she was remembering who she was, who knows but so many scenes lead you to believe that she does. In order to remember her life, she needs Chuck in order to do that here is another scene

      John Casey: That jungle’s filled with nothing but killers. I’m going with you!
      Sarah Walker: You’re not going where I’m going. I’ll do *anything* to get him back. And I’m not going to take you down with me. You were right. I am different without Chuck, and I don’t like it.
      John Casey: You let me out of here. You need me.
      Sarah Walker: NO. I need Chuck.

      They have actually been leading to the final episode for four years. We just didn’t see it. The fact that she thought Chuck was killed in the car bomb in best friend She wouldn’t know what to do without Chuck in her life. The tears of agony follow by tears of relief.

      In the tooth, she says to Chuck: “I will always come back for you.” which she does in the middle of the last episode returns to the buymore looking for Chuck. So many clues yet we didn’t see

  20. revdr says:

    I agree to an extent, but it wasn’t a happy ending, just a hopeful one; which means yet another cliffhanger. I just don’t know that, given the uncertainty of anything beyond what we have been given that it was fair ending. We all would love a movie or mini series or whatever; but, what if this is it? This aint’ Firefly. I honestly view our chances for something more at this point as slim to none. I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic. As I’ve said before, fans of Gilmore Girls have been waiting for 7 years for a movie to close out that story with nothing in sight. And they have a much larger fanbase. Amy Sherman Palladino is a bit of a weirdo however, so she may never do anything. Plus, Lauren Graham has Parenthood and a new pilot that she’s writing and producing and Scott Patterson is 55 years old now. If they ever plan to finally get Luke and Lorelai married it may have to be in an old folks home. Now I have no doubt that Chuck and Sarah find their way back to each other. The great thing about this couple always was that they didn’t just love each other; they are IN LOVE….but it gets very old after a time to see “to be continued” at the end of their adventure. But that what we got, and that’s what makes it hard to swallow.

    • atcDave says:

      No rev, you’re definitely being pessimistic. Principals have all said they’d love to do a reunion, I think that alone raises the likelihood from slim to 50/50. And given how many fans want it to happen I think it’s even better than that.
      Not every show gets a continuation. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes that’s terrible. But I like our odds for more Chuck.

      • Chris Byrnes says:

        I agree with you David there could always be that chance of a return.. There is a strong enough fanbase that it is possible. It is not like the show died because of lack of ratings. Kurt Sutter, the creator of Sons of Anarchy said it best when you have a show the first two years you try to gain fans, but after that your interest is maintaining the fan base that you already have., which in Chuck’s case is important to know that the Fans are in love with some Chuck.
        If 24 is able to return why not Chuck. However, it seems the more I read the more Zac would prefer a movie rather than a series.

      • atcDave says:

        I do think a movie is a safer bet. It would probably be easier to get made, and easier to get good sales or ratings for a one time event. Of course, I’d prefer a Chuck series. But that probably really is a long shot.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think a one-off movie reunion is about the best we can hope for, much as I’d love to see a 9 or 10 episode miniseries like 24 is doing.

      • I agree too. It took a really large and consistent effort for Arrested Development to get a continuation, and I’m sure that’s a cheaper show to stage than Chuck. Given the decline in its viewership, I’d have a really hard time seeing it get another half-season.

        I don’t know if anybody watched Pretender back in the day, but that series got 2-3 movies after being canceled – it got picked up for syndication by TNT, and they paid for new movies to join it. Who knows, maybe Netflix will want to invest in a Chuck movie if it goes far enough.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah right now Netflix looks like a viable partner, and they are making content so that’s good!
        What I’d really like to see is enough success come from a movie to lead to a new series. But obviously its one step at a time, for now I just want a movie…

      • Ah Dave, your optimism is as charming as it is relentless.

        All I know is that whenever the Chuck Kickstarter campaign emerges, I’m donating more money than I will ever admit to anybody else. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Arthur I’m with ya there. I would give a whole year’s allowance for that!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I’m with Dave on this. Over on the IMDB boards and here we are seeing an uptick in interest as new fans are finding Chuck. Our entire archive of reviews, recaps and general musings is now probably the most read part of the blog. I think a lot of this has to do with Netflix, but I like it no matter what the cause. I say in a year or so a Chuck re-union project will be on someone’s radar.

      • joe says:

        Maybe we should consider sending our stats to Zac as another bit of evidence he can point to when he tries to sell a Chuck Movie to the moguls!

      • atcDave says:

        It’s always a red letter day when Dave and Ernie agree on something. We can’t BOTH be wrong!
        Our increased traffic is really dramatic. Not so long ago we were looking at 500 hits a day. Which isn’t bad for discussing a show that’s been off the air for two years. But the last month or so it’s been closer to 1000 a day. That’s pretty exciting.

        Joe that’s a great idea. Thanks for taking the lead on that!
        Seriously I wish they all knew how passionate we still are.

      • mr2686 says:

        I think VM and Firefly were in the same boat as Chuck. Cancelled too soon and a trending uptick in fans after the show’s end. Since they both got movies, I’m thinking that Chuck is a logical choice to also get a movie. We’ll see.

  21. Chris Byrnes says:

    A movie is better than a series for two reasons. you can get away with a time gap more than a series. For example, if we wait lets say 4 years for a movie or series reboot, it would not fair well in the long term because of the nature of the story. Plus the actors commitments to other projects play into it too.
    My ideal time frame is a year and a half more because there is still time between episodes or film to be able to maintain the original story.
    It is important to get the original cast as well. I won’t watch the movie if Sarah is not being played by Yvonne and so on.

  22. I’ve gone back to watch the entire series over the past 3 months after re-discovering it on Netlflix. I watched seasons 1-3 on TV but due to college at the time fell out of it. Now a working man I saw the entire series was up and realizing I never saw the ending dove right back in. After the pilot, I remembered why I loved this show so much and became hooked once again.

    Going through the series I found myself relating and identifying to situations and characters, realizing that 17 year old me during season 1 never fully understood the complexities of this show and what it grew into. With that I found to really enjoy Sarah’s growth from the CIA’s best to a complete woman, family, love, friends and her spy skills. The same can be said for Chuck, his endearing attitude to the see the best in everyone and anyone, and his growth as a person into a spy that is confident in his abilities.

    Onto my assessment of Season 5 and this episode: I really found the whole Morgan with the intersect thing as uncomfortable really. Just seeing him flipping and doing kung-fu really through the show off its paces for me. It also made Chuck more of a backseat character which was odd to see. Also Sarah is amazing for most of season 5, she is a emotional rock and steading force for C.I. and the team and that transformation from bodyguard Sarah is amazing to watch.

    I think a more interesting arc would have been Sarah with it earlier, and say she had an episode or 2 where she really kicked ass with it, then have her begin to lose her mind piece meal much like Morgan did. Then have Chuck go on some far flung adventure to be able to stop the deterioration. Maybe have a villain not useless like Quinn kidnap her and have Chuck go guns blazing after putting together the pieces to get the last upload for himself. Just spitballing here haha.

    • thinkling says:

      That sounds like lots of fun, Daniel. But I sure did love married CS’s march/fight toward normal … just sooo appealing and lovable.

    • thinkling says:

      Oh, and welcome to the blog … don’t think I’ve seen you here before. Or I just missed it.

      • Thank you! I am new, and their march towards normalcy did make you want to root for them. Also I have read your fan Fic story! it was one of the first ones I read while I was trying to find a way to find some closure to the series. After reading your story, it made me want to read more.

    • atcDave says:

      Daniel some very interesting comments. I agree completely about the strength of the show from the very start, and yeah, Sarah in S5 is amazing!

      I wasn’t really uncomfortable with Morgan as Intersect, but his story really did nothing for me either. The idea of Sarah having it earlier, and Chuck having to go to extremes to get her back certainly has some appeal. The concern I always have is that I wouldn’t want it to be too drawn out, Chuck and Sarah as the team and power couple is what I most wanted the show to be about. But if that were done as a three episode arc like Morgansect was, I think its a very appealing option.

      • That is a great point about Sarah and Chuck as a Power couple they really were strong and dynamic. I really just wanted a definitive ending to the series. I have read more fan fiction stories than I can count about Chuck haha.

      • atcDave says:

        Ahhh, it’s always good to find another fan fiction junkie!

  23. Chris Byrnes says:

    Chuck and Sarah vs. The Spy Life
    I don’t know if or how I can post my own threads, but I wanted to share with you guys this post/blog. It is what I been thinking about since I began watching this show. I hope you like it and please by all means post your comments.

    Never before has an occupation have impact on so many people like that of the spy life/ There comes a point when the person in a particular career ask themselves is it really worth it anymore. For Chuck and Sarah, the question comes up throughout the entire series.

    Two people forced into a life they did not choose. Sarah was forced into it when Graham recruited her after the arrest of her father. We know what happens to Chuck. Both made decisions that would force them to lose out on a normal life. A quest they tried to achieve with each other, but in the end ruined their relationship and life. Let’s go on a journey to understand how the spy life split two people apart, but also brought them together.

    The first quote I am going to use is from Stephen Bartowski. He said the following
    Chuck Bartowski: The mission’s over dad.
    Steve Bartowski: It’s never over, all right? There’s always another one and another. And… the reason a spy has to have one of those is because every mission they go on could be their last. For every spy, there’s someone who cares about them. Someone who has to open that box, read that message, and mourn their loss. This is a bad business. And I don’t want my family any part of it!
    Later in the episode Sarah repeats a similar message
    Sarah Walker: I’ve been thinking about what happened in the cabin. How you almost died. You everything that your dad said about the life that we’ve chosen, he’s right. What we do is not safe. I want you to have this… My spy will. \
    Chuck Bartowski: Why are you giving me this?
    Sarah Walker: Chuck, this is me. It’s everything I know. It’s my life and – if something were to happen to me – well, if anyone’s gonna have it, I want it to be you.
    Chuck Bartowski: Nothing’s going to happen to you. You’re not going anywhere. And neither am I.

    When Sarah came to Burbank, she already had the feeling that the CIA was not for her, but it was a job, and she owed them for not putting her in jail. She was already beginning to see the manipulation in a world on her own recognition is full of deceit. She met someone that was not part of the spy life, and not like her father, who was a con man. A man who has a kind heart and the kind of normal life she was seeking.
    At this point in Sarah’s life she had spy first people in her life. Bryce and Carina most notably, even Casey was about duty before anything else, which rubbed off on her, and this is who she was becoming. When she meets Chuck it was like a breath of fresh air, which she says to Chuck on their date.
    Sarah: After I realized all my friends were his friends, everything about Washington reminded me of Bruce, I needed a change, A big one.
    Although at the time it was a cover, we learn later that it really was not a cover. Only the name Bruce was the lie. Moreover, several times Sarah asked the question Do you every want to have a normal life, but when she asks the question, she asks the wrong people. Carina and Casey are hardcore spies, who believe in the cardinal rule of spying. Much like Chuck never asked the question do you love me Sarah. she never discussed the need for a normal life with Chuck. Not until here.
    Other Guy:
    Chuck Bartowski: But earlier on in my… drunken haze… I realized I hadn’t asked you a really important question. I’d like to ask you now if that’s okay. Just once for the record… Sarah, do you love me?
    [Long pause]
    Chuck Bartowski: Wow. I’m, uh, in my underwear. I’m sitting in my underwear holding a plastic guitar. There’s a very good chance I’m making a complete fool of myself, isn’t there?
    Sarah Walker: Yes.
    Chuck Bartowski: I should probably put some pants on.
    Sarah Walker: No, Chuck… Yes.
    Chuck Bartowski: What?… uh, What?
    Sarah Walker: Chuck, I fell for you a long *long* time ago. After you fixed my phone, and before you started diffusing bombs with viruses. So, yes.
    [Sarah chuckles]
    Sarah Walker: Yes.

    And then Sarah

    The Tooth:

    Chuck Bartowski: Hey Sarah we need to talk.
    Sarah Walker: Sure Chuck…
    Chuck Bartowski: No listen this is very important.
    Sarah Walker: I love you. It shouldn’t have taken me this long to say it, but I’ve never felt this way. Before you, the only future that I could think about was my next mission, and now all I can think about is a future with you. I love you Chuck.
    Chuck Bartowski: I love you too.

    There is more to the puzzle, Sarah has been offered so many opportunities to leave Burbank, but she response with the same answer. “I am good here” even before the first date with Chuck. Before she was named his handler, she was recalled by Langston, but stayed anyway because she could fix it, but fix her life is more the answer.
    Much like Sarah, Chuck is thrust into the spy life. In the beginning, Chuck downloaded the Intersect because of Bryce. He was not given a choice in the matter, but after two years of doing spy work. He took the opportunity to download Intersect 2.0 when given the chance and most importantly the choice.
    This decision did not go over well with Sarah. Sarah fell in love with a regular guy and his regular life. She knew the game they played, and was afraid he would change, and lose the things that made him great, and most of season 3 she was witnessing a man becoming what she had become. Pleas and warning from Sarah were not heard from Chuck.
    The government didn’t make things easier either. They forced Chuck and Sarah to use people in their lives to come along on missions and put them and their love ones in danger. Although it bothered Chuck more, Sarah did not want to see her father get mixed up in CIA business knowing how it would end or hiding a baby from the CIA.
    They made Chuck and Sarah rekindle old flames in the interest of the government and this also did not go over well with the both of them. All they wanted to do was be with each other, but how does one do that with all these variables in the way. The risk out weighted the reward until their hearts could not take it anymore.
    Chuck and Sarah move forward with their relationship and doing so Sarah risked her life multiple times to save Chuck and he did the same. After that they face Mary Bartowski, which was a fight brief separation and finally Chuck choosing to side with his Fiancé over his mother.

    It does not last long though because by helping Volkoff and Mary they made enemies with the CIA’s Decker and later Quinn, and again the couple faces adversity. However, this does not stop two people who are truly meant for each other to fight for what they want most a normal life with a real relationship, and that does not include spying.
    Sarah and Chuck’s roads are the same. The only difference is the way they get there. Each time they find happiness, the spy life interferes and causes a strain.
    As mentioned before, the risk out ways the reward, but the cost out weights the risk.
    So it is not so much what people did to them. It’s more of what the world they live in did to them.
    Before Season 3, Sarah was ready to quit the spy life, after telling no to Bryce about coming with him. She was trying to let Chuck know that she didn’t want to save the world before Orion tells them that Bryce was taken by someone that was not CIA, which turns out to be the Ring.
    A woman who never knew how to love has learned to love through Chuck.

    As for Chuck, well It starts with his father, who left him when he was 13 years old. The reason Stephen left his family was to protect them from the people that were looking for him because he was the one responsible for the creation of the Intersect. The very intersect that ends up in Chuck’s head. Fast forward to 12 years later, the same people hunting him were the same kind of people that killed him.
    The intersect was responsible for taking away both of his parents and wiping out his wife’s memories. It almost destroyed his best friend. Only his sister was not affected personally but with the loss of both parents, Elle had to raise Chuck since she was 12.. It is a burden that no 12 year should have to undertake.
    The second thing is his relationship with Bryce. On the outset, you begin to wonder about Bryce, but as the story unfold. Bryce was sent by his father to look after him at Stanford. This is key because after Chuck gets kicked out. For 5 years Chuck thought that Bryce betrayed him, and in those 5 years Sarah was working with Bryce. Every character so far has a link back to Chuck and Sarah.
    Destiny was certain for these two people.
    When Chuck meets Sarah, his first reaction was of amazement because such a beautiful woman approaching him is something new. He never dealt with something like, and when she returns the next day to ask him out. He is called off guard.
    Through season 4, Chuck always felt that Sarah was a big fish and required him to be bigger than a Nerd Herder. The best example of this comes from Phase Three when Morgan explains to Sarah about the Proposal Plan.
    Sarah Walker: When was he planning on doing this?
    Morgan Grimes: I don’t know. I mean, since he lost the Intersect, the proposal plan got put on hold.
    Sarah Walker: Why? Did he think I wouldn’t want to marry him without the Intersect? Is that how I made him feel?
    Morgan Grimes: No. No! Chuck knew that – Chuck knows that you love him, Sarah, okay? It’s just, you’re kind of a big fish, you know? And to a regular guy with no supercomputer in his brain, I gotta think that’s pretty intimidating.
    Sarah Walker: That;s not the reason why I love Chuck. I want to spend the rest of my life with Chuck -*with* or *without* the Intersect.
    Morgan Grimes: That’s fantastic! That’s great. Yeah, and he knows that right? Because you told him?… Oh.

    Chuck doesn’t know that Sarah loves him for him because of the nerd in him won’t allow it, However, throughout the series she keeps telling him that she fell in love with a regular guy.
    For the first time a very emotional Sarah tells him though
    Sarah Walker: Chuck, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I don’t care if you have the Intersect or not. Without you, I’m nobody. I’m nothing but a spy. Come back to me, Chuck. I want to marry you.
    Even better
    Sarah Walker: [Referring to a picture of Sarah and Chuck] That’s just something I like to keep in my suitcase at all times. Whether I’m in Portugal, or Russia or Burbank, this uh, make me feel comfortable and safe. Look, I know that it’s taken me longer than a normal girl. But you should know that you’re my home, Chuck. You always have been.
    As much as Chuck hears these kinds of things from Sarah, he does not trust it. Remember the nerd in him won’t believe it. Not until Fear of death when hanging from the Gondola, he proclaims that he needs Sarah and that he loves her. However, She is on the road trying to get to him and he is about to be taken, which makes Agent Walker and Sarah the girlfriend co-exist. After the rescue, Morgan does for Chuck like he did for Sarah earlier.
    Morgan: It’s a good thing you lost the intersect…because you should of seen that girl. She loves you. She’ll do anything for you.
    Chuck: Thanks Buddy!
    Ultimately, Chuck becomes a spy, a good one at that. He uses his intelligence and the intersect as a method of solving missions, defusing bombs and trapping major players in the illegal weapons game. He even becomes comfortable with the occupation until the occupation decided to block him from saving his wife.
    It was not easy for them together. Several times they were threatened to be put in jail because of treason. They chose morality in helping their friend John Casey in Tic Tac or help each other when it came to rescuing Sarah’s mother and her sister or Sarah helping Chuck get into the Zimidian box at the concert. Sarah and Chuck are there for each other until the job puts Chuck into a psychiatric facility for it.
    As I mentioned before the risk outweighs the reward and the cost outweighs the risk for Sarah and Chuck their job was what did them in. However, despite this they were there for each other in the end.

  24. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Bearded Bandit (5.02) | Chuck This

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