Chuck in Overview: Season Four

The tone of the show shifts once again. This time we’ll get more comedy, more fun, less angst.  Major themes being Chuck’s search for his mom, Volkoff I and Volkoff II, and Chuck and Sarah growing from couple to family.

After the jump we’ll discuss the fourth season of Chuck.  

I’ve not been shy about calling this my favorite season of the show.  But really that’s not such an easy judgement.  I love four seasons of Chuck.  And my favorite episode is in the one season I don’t really love.  So really every season has something to commend it.  Season Four does have a couple of knocks against it.  To me the biggest is just that the budget cuts that have been in play since the start of Season Three are obvious.  The production quality of the show is lower than it was in the first two seasons.  Its hard for me to pinpoint exactly why; but its some combination of sets, costuming, cinematography, editing, stunts, fx, and script continuity/tightness.  The show simply feels less polished.  That really is a shame.

And as the show enters its fourth season it has undoubtedly lost some of the freshness that characterized the beginning.  Chuck is no longer the fish out of water.  He may still be a young agent compared to Casey and Sarah; but the spy world is less overwhelming and foreign to him.  Chuck is still (mostly) a “good guy”, but he’s not so innocent.  Morgan may take some of that complete novice mantel, but Morgan is not Chuck, and it just isn’t the same.

Another minor gripe, I wish the main villains of both arcs hadn’t been so deeply personal.  Maybe one of them could be personal (gee, guess which), but to me the world seems a little smaller when it all seems to be about Chuck and the Bartowski family.  I do want to repeat that this is a minor gripe.  I think the show remained a ton of fun.  But I think too many of the cases all tied back in to one story line.

But I really think where this season shines, it really becomes something extraordinary.  So many shows follow a path of trying to ratchet up tension every season.  I so often find this tiring.  I prefer for past victories to matter, and carry over into the later seasons.  And I think Chuck did this far better than most shows.  This partly means Chuck’s professionalism; but of course it mostly means Chuck and Sarah.  The show runner wisely allows the angst and tension to ebb away, and allow our main characters to enjoy a happy home life through most of the remaining series.  There will be new drama, new tensions on occasion; but I find the overall mood of the show has gone from teasing something wonderful that was just out of reach, to being deeply and profoundly satisfying. And I can’t overstate that; Chuck in Season Four was, in many ways, the show I’d been waiting for since the start.  And that made me very happy.

It may have something to do with the change in show runners; Season Four is when Chris Fedak went from second banana to the one calling the shots.  Or maybe not, I don’t know.  But its clear a decision was made to leave Chuck and Sarah in a happy place, to reduce the angst, and derive drama from other sources.  I think this was brilliant and refreshing.  So few shows have ever dared do something like this.  Way back when this show started I thought it was something that could be different, that it could develop good characters and deliver a satisfying romance.  After more than a few doubts the previous season, in Season Four they completely delivered what I was waiting and hoping for.  I do still feel both main characters were diminished by their failings in Season Three.  But I am mostly able to set that aside when watching Season Four, and enjoy where we’ve finally arrived.

Overall

I had a problem with the way the season started.  Its a carry over of one of my least favorite parts of Season Three.  Of course that’s Chuck keeping secrets from Sarah, again.  But I was completely pleased with how quickly and decisively that was fixed in Anniversary.  It was like Chris Fedak was reading this blog.  Seriously.  This had been a pretty major concern towards the end of the last season (really across the fandom, I was being silly about taking credit).  It only could have been better if the episode had started with Chuck telling Sarah about his new mission to find mom, and Chuck and Sarah either quitting together, or working it as a side mission together.  But at least by the end of the premier we’re back in a good place.

And happily, a good place is where most of the season will stay.  I completely enjoyed the way Chuck and Sarah grew, and grew together.  Of course from here on out growth will mostly be about Sarah.  Chuck pretty consistently is always ready for that next step.  Which leads to the most FUN this show will ever have with the role reversal that lays at its center.  It has long been a part of the basic structure that Sarah was the knight in shining armor to Chuck’s damsel in distress.  But I love how this was never overt.  Chuck was clearly masculine, Sarah was very feminine.  Yet Chuck embodied stereotypical female qualities; he was chatty, sensitive, relational and emotional.  Opposed to Sarah as the strong silent type, who used actions to show her feelings, not words.  Its always been there.  But now, all season long, it will be pretty overtly funny.  Chuck wants to work on communication skills, while Sarah is afraid of change.  Chuck wants to talk about… everything.  Sarah wants to elope, Chuck wants a big family wedding.  Sarah worries about sharing feelings publicly, while Chuck writes pages and pages for his vows.  This is such happy humor, that honors and celebrates the characters we love.  To me, this is Chuck at its best.

There are several shorter arcs this season as opposed to the longer one of Season Three.  I think this is a good move.  Chuck works better for me in shorter stories.  And it does mean when they try a less popular theme, like the Intersectless Arc, we get past it quickly.  I think a couple of these arcs work very well, especially what I’ll call the “Frost Arc” of Aisle of Terror and First Fight.  I thought this was just a dynamite introduction to Frost and Volkoff, although I did later miss Tuttle (!).  And I love the finale arc of Agent X, Last Details and Cliffhanger.  To me, this was almost a Season Two quality run of episodes.  I know not all agree, and I’ll hear about it; but I thought the humor, action, excitement and romance were all delivered perfectly.

Some of the new characters introduced were uneven.  I would consider Alexei Volkoff the best villain of the series, bar none.  Brilliant, demented, hilarious.  Chuck at its very best.  Frost was up and down.  The portrayal was strong and I love her in that first arc.  But when we got to Gobbler and Push Mix they tried too hard to rationalize her 20 year mission and make her a tragic heroic figure.  I think it would have worked better if she had to earn a redemption from the inside out.  Admittedly that may be too much for an action-comedy, but something still needed some tweaking!   Vivian was a weak character.  I think we needed to see a little more of that Volkoff loopiness in her.  Or something.  She went from sweet but confused to full out vengeful and twisted with too little provocation.  The character seemed to be missing something.

We also saw the return of several popular characters from past seasons.  Premier Goya, Roan Montgomery, Carina Miller and Jack Burton being the real stand outs.  Every one of those characters enriches the show, or makes it a lot funnier.

Characters

Chuck showed great skill and resourcefulness as an agent.  His greatest personal growth of the season came at the end of Anniversary.  But he faced and overcame significant challenges during the season.  In no particular order; reclaiming his mom, proving his worth without the Intersect, defeating Alexei Volkoff, royally screwing up an asset, and going to heroic lengths to rescue Sarah.

Sarah grew in dramatic fashion.  I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed watching her come to grips with her changing desires and priorities.  Sarah at the start of the season is much she was at the end of Season Two, she knows she wants Chuck by her side but has given little thought to what it means for her future.  But by the end of the season she’s ready and happy to start a new life without even the baggage of her old career.  She will grow some more in Season Five, but the most major growth is done by the end of Season Four.

Casey will mostly continue as he left off.  The big news here is trying to become a dad to the daughter he never knew.  This is not a major story, but it is well done and Casey has come a long way.  Casey and Morgan continue to be partnered with entertaining results.  Morgan is often well used, occasionally over used, for comic effect.  Occasionally, I think Morgan is over used as a “voice of wisdom”.  I get that one of his functions is as Chuck’s confidante and sounding board, but sometimes Morgan’s “growth” seems extreme to the point of being a wholly different character from Season One.  His romantic pairing with Casey’s daughter adds a perfect twist to things.  And it amuses me that Morgan does so well with a younger woman, who is still far more mature than he.

Ellie and Devon are a bit of problem this season.  Well, Ellie is.  Its like they didn’t quite know what to do with her after learning Chuck’s secrets the season before.  So they reset.  Fortunately this won’t do the emotional damage to show and characters that the Season Three relationship reset did.  But it still felt pointless and silly.  Although I did find it very funny, in the laughing at them not with them sense of the word, that when Ellie did “learn the truth” that she wasn’t phased at all.  It sort of put the exclamation point on the pointlessness of this story element.

The minor characters remained minor characters.  Big Mike and the Buy Morons had several fun moments.  Jeffster had one very funny performance in Push Mix.  

I think the Buy More (yes, I’m discussing the Buy More under characters!) has become a little awkward.  It is still often funny.  And I think as a branding issue it needs to stay in the show, in some capacity.  Really, Buy More and Chuck are pretty solidly linked in the minds of so many viewers, especially casual viewers, I can see where it would be very hard to just get rid of.  But it obviously plays little part in Chuck’s life any more.  And it often felt like the show runner just didn’t know quite what to do with the setting.  There were a couple of attempts at linking it with the “A” plot more closely (Cubic Z, Muuurder).  But I think it needed either more, or less.  Again, this is not a huge issue to me.  But it is noticeable after having been such a big part of the show, and Chuck’s life, in the beginning.

Episodes

Season Four is more like the first two seasons in that their isn’t a single episode that I dislike.  The Strong, Average, Weak terms I use are relative to Chuck.  Which means “Average” is still better than most of what’s on television, and even “Weak” has more good moments than bad.

  • STRONG: Suitcase, Coup D’Etat, Couch Lock, Aisle of Terror, First Fight, Phase Three, Balcony, Push Mix, Seduction Impossible, Wedding Planner, Last Details, Cliffhanger.  That’s a lot of strong episodes!  Phase Three and Wedding Planner stand out to me as the real best of the best.
  • AVERAGE: Anniversary, Cubic Z, Fear of Death, CAT Squad, Masquerade, First Bank of Evil, A Team, Muuurder, Family Volkoff, Agent X.  Anniversary has moved up a notch after the latest re-watch, it may start weak, but it finishes strong, so I’ll give it an average.  A couple of these are teetering on the edge of weak.  But in the end, I can easily re-watch every episode on this list.
  • WEAK: LeftoversGobbler.  Like turkey indeed.

So an interesting list.  I think Season Four most needs to be compared to Season Two, and the results are interesting to me.  Season Two actually had more “strong” episodes, but not by much (13 of 22, compared to 12 of 24 for S4).  Big difference in the other categories though.  S2 had only 5 average episodes compared to S4’s 10.  And several of S2’s average episodes were bordering on strong; while more of S4’s average episodes were bordering on weak.  However, S4 only had the two episodes I call weak, compared to 4 for S2.

And that’s all a bunch of made up mumbo jumbo…  What I think it means to me is; both seasons are very strong overall.  But S2 runs more hot/cold, with more very good and not so good episodes.  While S4 is more solid, with fewer really terrific episodes, but fewer missteps too.

I’ll continue to call S4 my favorite though.  Obviously not on account of the number of “strong” episodes, but because the Chuck and Sarah story is exactly the story I most wanted to see.  Add in the best villain of the series, and the sort of light comic adventure tone that I always like most and this season just can’t be beat.

Next week we’ll get the final season.  The ups and downs will be a little more extreme!

 ~ Dave  

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About atcDave

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

  1. I’m with you, Dave. Overall, S4 is my favorite as well. While I didn’t particularly like Volkoff on first viewing because I thought him too over-the-top, after a while I came to enjoy him. This’s also the season where I thought, and still think, that the show could have ended. I’ve read how you feel about S5, but I’ll save that for later.
    As for episodes, as I think I’ve said before, I’ve never ranked them, but on reading your list, I can’t disagree.

    • atcDave says:

      I do agree with saying Cliffhanger was the most completely acceptable finale. I sure would have preferred that for a series finale!

  2. duckman says:

    Comletely agree with you about this being the most “level” season, in a way it feels like they were a little gun shy after s3. I think first fight could have been played for a little genuine, honest, angst instead of some pretty mild humor. I wanted to see what happened when Sarah came home after locking up Mary. But that is very minor for me. The personal nature of the villians was my biggest complaint by far. Much like the wt/wt of s3, by the time Vivian went dark I was beyond tired of the personal attacks, and they just kept coming, each more contrived than the last.By the time they got to cliffhanger, I wasn’t cheering, I was checking my watch asking when they would see fit to quit screwing around and get to the damn wedding already. I really think they owed us lowly “shippers” one damn episode. I’ve mentioned before, I’d trade all of s5 for an ep long rehearsal, wedding, and reception.
    Oh, and I’m still pissed about Sarah’s Porshe.

    • atcDave says:

      Too funny. Well you seem a little more cranky about it than I am! Although I completely agree I would have preferred a full, fun episode for rehearsal/wedding/reception sort of stuff.
      But I never really got cranky about the choices they made. Even if I would have preferred a few things done a bit differently.

      I do think they played it safe a little as a consequence of S3. But it wasn’t just a matter of being gun-shy, I think the audience really was shell shocked. Basically I’d say they expended every last bit of goodwill with a major portion of the audience with the misery arc.

      • duckman says:

        Here’s a question for those of you who’ve been involved beyond just watching for so long. As a gearhead I’ve always wondered if the porshe maybe belonged to one of the producers, JS maybe? and got “borrowed” when needed . And eventually said owner sold the car, requiring it to be written out. If I were at comicon, thats what I would have asked.
        Silly I know, but whose car was that anyway?

      • atcDave says:

        My guess would be WB owned the car. All I know for sure is they really did blow it up for CAT Squad.

  3. oldresorter says:

    Pacing was a bit off in the final arc of season 4. Probably could have knocked it out of the park with a full blown wedding ep around 5×21. so much to milk, Jeffster as ushers? A morgan and Ellie scene as best man and maid of honor. Really special and personnal gifts that Chuck and Sarah exchange, neither aware the other had figured out what was special to the other (or to us fans!). So much. Then they should have done a Honeymooners 2 ep, the Charles ride again! I’d opt for a cruise ship this time, but really, anything would work. Having really gotten the fans on their sides, then they should have hit us with the Norseman final arc, and had the final scene all about Sarah coming to. Those four eps would have been top four for many fans, a wide range of fans. The good of the wedding (Ring 3?) / honeymooner 2 eps would have played off the drama of the Sarah near dead story. This way, I hated the norseman story, cause it ruined the wedding story. Both stories were worth their own ep or two!

    In many ways, s5 WAS paced as I suggested. In all honesty, I would have still hated the amnesia arc, but if the beach had been paid off with closure, or followed by a short happy epilogue a couple of years forward, the final ep would have been an all time top five for most people. All they had to do is finish the telling the story out to the climax, rather than stop short, leaving the audience incredibly frustrated.

    • duckman says:

      The norseman, while somewhat well executed, was a moronic and contrived idea, and I would have paid them not to do it.
      Feeling kinda frisky tonite…

    • atcDave says:

      Jason/OR some great stuff there! I like all those ideas. Especially a better developed wedding episode. What we got sure was rushed, and of course any Sarah incapacitated/damaged story has a built in disadvantage.

    • anthropocene says:

      Norseman is to Chuck as Invisible car is to James Bond. I was fine with the basic plot idea of desperate Chuck saving dying Sarah, though. I agree that a potentially great moment, a bookend to the climax of Phase Three, was lost when we weren’t shown Sarah’s revival. Oh, but we did get the heart-pumping, fingernail-biting little cliffhanger on the church sign.

  4. oldresorter says:

    That being said, I loved s4. Every ep. Only negative I could say is several eps – say like Balcony could have been epic if, much like the final on the beach, the story had been told to completion, rather than abruptly interrupted. I found this story telling style most annoying and frustrating, even as an epic episode was being aired, as Balcony was.

    • duckman says:

      OR- I think the their tendancy to end eps like that make s4 more of a collection of great scenes for me rather than great episodes, they’re so often dimished by some gimmick. It’s like they’re trying too hard at times.

    • atcDave says:

      It was a style of this show from the beginning to end with something more about setting up what comes next than properly ending the episode itself. It’s the sort of device that’s fun when it works, and really annoying when it doesn’t.

  5. authorguy says:

    The more I study it, the less I like it. Too much incoherence to all the stories, lack of logic, little bits that don’t make sense.

  6. revdr says:

    Dave; I agree with you that season 4, when stacked up against other seasons ranks pretty high. It is my favorite in terms of humor and relationship issues. If we’re talking writing and substance though, I still give season 2 the nod. We get lots of Chuck and Sarah this season, always a good thing, and we are blessed with undoubtedly one of the best episodes of the entire series in Phase 3, even though it wound up being one of the lowest rated. But I have to somewhat agree w/authorguy as well, because there was quite a bit of incoherence to many of the episodes. The best thing for me in season 4 was Sarah’s finally coming out of her shell, and allowing herself to love, and laugh, and accepting the notion that it’s actually ok to trust her heart. That’s the most important, and consistent theme throughout every episode of season 4.

    • atcDave says:

      No doubt Sarah’s growth alone could have made this my favorite season. I think the main advantage S2 has over S4 is just that it was all still fresher for us. There was a clear drop in production values, which is a shame, but it honestly is not a huge thing to me. I judge those two seasons to be very close, I just give S4 the slightest edge.

    • revdr says:

      Yeah, for sure the production values were clearly compromised, given the amount of network and studio support. But actually, it gave the show a more intimate feel, at least to me. The stories had a homier feel to them. But the story telling was at times a bit off, but, that’s understandable, considering the turnover in the writer’s room and CF taking over as showrunner. There were a few episodes that just lacked cohesiveness (Leftovers, Gobbler, and I’m adding Muuurder to your weak list) and a couple others that could have told a better, less predictable story (I was really disappointed in C.A.T. Squad). Overall it was a fun season, but some stories didn’t go far enough, and left out some important scenes and story elements.

    • authorguy says:

      Phase Three is hardly the best episode of the series. The only good thing about it is the fight scene, and Morgan as the magnet. The villain was a cartoon. The plot depends on a henchman whispering in his ear, while reading from a phone call log. Sarah gets in one solid hit and all of a sudden is talked about as if she were rampaging through the countryside.
      Most of the episodes have this problem, a few solid bits strung together with gauzy bits of tissue, or gimmicks that work for a sight-gag but don’t make any sense beyond that immediate second where they occur.
      Unfortunately they wasted most of the season on a useless plot. After S3 it was obvious that C&S were joined at the soul. The proposal/wedding was a given, not a plotline. They should have just noted the development every so often, with an occasional reference to buying a ring, or checking out dresses. A small scene every few episodes would do. Then would have had time to do a proper story with Frost and Volkoff, instead of the rushed botch-job we got.

  7. aalleess says:

    Season 4 is my third favorite (behind the first two).

    Some episodes were really great, like Push mix, Phase three, Balcony… It was great to see Jack Burton, Roan Montgomery, Generallisimo and Carina again. Volkoff/Tuttle/Hartley was fantastic. Casey’s daughter was a good addition to the show as well. And there was no Shaw!

    However, Frost did not convince me as Chuck’s mom and I still don’t understand her mission completely. While Vivian Volkoff was very pleasant to my eyes, her story was awkward. Ellie and Devon were often awkward as well. Buy More scenes were hardly ever entertaining. Gretas – boring. And as Dave said, the show feels less polished.

    I also have a problem with the “getting married stuff”. I would prefer if the wedding and the rehearsal dinner had been something intimate but instead there was a whole crowd of people most of whom we never saw before. And Wienerlicious girls coming to Sarah’s bachelorette party – that was just silly.

    Strong: Phase three, Balcony, Push mix, Seduction Impossible, Wedding Planner.
    Average: the rest.
    Weak: Gobbler, Cat Squad, Masquerade, A-Team, Muuurder.

    • atcDave says:

      You’re right about the rehearsal party, they’re normally not so extravagant!

      The Gretas are an odd thing. The idea of the rotating under cover agent is amusing. But there was too much other stuff going on and it just never clicked.

  8. Wilf says:

    For all the lapses in/lack of logic, Season 4 is my favourite. Seasons 1 and 2 were great, yes, but for me, the fact that Chuck and Sarah were together made this season so much more enjoyable. I just loved the fact that most of the relationship angst was no longer there and, to the extent that it was there, any problems were resolved within a single or two episodes. Phase 3 is without a doubt my most watched episode of Season 4, with Suitcase and Push Mix a close second. I wasn’t very keen on Couch Lock or Leftovers. First Bank of Evil isn’t to my taste either, but I know many of you guys really liked it.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree almost exactly with all of that Wilf. Well, except that Wedding Planner is my clear second favorite.

    • Wilf says:

      Well, my take on Wedding Planner is that it was a harmless, amusing little episode which didn’t do a lot for me. I didn’t dislike it either.

  9. oldresorter says:

    One aspect of s4 I enjoyed was the team was more of less committed to being CIA agents most of the season, maybe all of the season. In most the other seasons, one or more of their hearts weren’t in it. I liked them on missions EACH week, that Beckman assigned, bringing down bad guys. I think these missions were the engine that drove the show, allowing Chuck and Sarah to banter and quip their way to a most enjoyable romcom as they lived out their adventures, while bring down bad guys.

    • atcDave says:

      I liked that too. As I said above, I wish more of those missions had been more professional, less personal; but I liked the format very much.

    • garnet says:

      I have to wonder, it they had tried to work the formula (Beckman-Bad Guy-Take down-snuggle), would we be still seeing new episodes?
      I think they have taken a somewhat better road on Castle. The wedding plans make an appearance and they go off and do their usual stuff. The wedding is coming, and decisions are being made, but it is not the whole point of the episode (generally speaking, and I am an episode behind).

      • atcDave says:

        Well you know I think what really cost us seasons all goes back to S3. Most of the viewers who liked the season, were the sorts who didn’t like S4. So we lost the viewers who would have been most pleased with the later seasons.
        Once we got to S4, I not as sure. If I were doing it, I would have made the missions more professional, less personal, in particular, I think Vivian was a dud. I also would have turned up the heat a little for Chuck and Sarah. And I would have spent less time on Morgan and the Buy More. Probably the biggest thing to me though, I would not have had any of the sort of humor that makes Chuck look bad. Morgan can be the occasional buffoon, I don’t think that’s a good role for Chuck. Just generally, I would have defined the team a little more tightly; Chuck is the good hearted genius (no buffoon, no running to Morgan for advice), Sarah is Chuck’s protector, muscle , confidante and encourager, Casey is muscle, comic relief and exasperated by Morgan, Morgan is stupidly brave with some limited technical abilities, but mostly the team goof up.
        As I’ve said many times, I really like S4 a lot. But those are the things I would have changed or tightened up. I’m not sure if that would have helped the show last any longer!

      • authorguy says:

        That’s what I said. The wedding was too much of a given to be made into any kind of a plot line.

  10. uplink2 says:

    I’m going to start off with this comment by Dave which I mostly agree with.

    ” But its clear a decision was made to leave Chuck and Sarah in a happy place, to reduce the angst, and derive drama from other sources. I think this was brilliant and refreshing.

    My only quibble with this statement is that I don’t think this decision was based on any grandiose realization or was somehow benevolent on Schwedak’s part. I think it was far and away a decision based on basic survival. They finally realized that the decisions they made in season 3 fractured the fanbase so severely that the show simply couldn’t survive another season of pointless Charah angst. To put it bluntly, they became gun shy. They had lost the trust of a good part of the audience and the only way to keep those that had stuck by the show during the season 3 debacle was to give them what they wanted. No Charah relationship angst. You can hear it in the 2010 Comicon comments. They go out of their way to tell those in the hall that “:we learned some lessons from season 3 and you will be very happy this season” That wasn’t them being nice, it was them realizing they screwed up big time. For Gomez to comment about it too was pretty telling they were all very aware much of season 3 simply didn’t work.

    But I agree with you that season 4 is my favorite as well. It has the best Sarah centric episode ever, the best villain of the entire series, the best “almost finale” in Push Mix, and some incredibly romantic moments even if the shine on the Charah relationship was never as bright after season 3. I also agree it was a very consistent season quality wise. It did suffer from the budget cuts Dave spoke of but the actors continued to deliver amazing work. With the longer season there were more bottle type episodes but all except 1, Muuurder were Chuck at its best. Muuurder, is the only episode in my bottom 5 episodes not from the first part of season 3. I think season 4 has some very very strong episodes with 2 episodes in my top 10.

    I love season 4 even with its flaws. It was a very entertaining period to be a Chuck fan.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m not quite sure if its a matter of being gun shy, or just that Fedak seriously was not interested in the romance. The closest he ever came to writing it well was in First Date, but of course that was co-written with Josh Schwartz. He did give us a couple of very nice Charah scenes, but the best “couples” episodes were all by other writers.

      But whatever the reason, I am very pleased that they learned some lessons for S4.

      I never quite get the complaints with Muuurder. Its no favorite of mine, but I find it inoffensive. Inoffensive is hardly a ringing endorsement, but I feel no need to criticize it either.
      Phase Three is just terrific. Its always on my “Top Three” list. Fun, exciting, and possibly Yvonne’s best performance of the series. I just love her scene at home with Morgan, and the later duel scene at the climax. Awesome episode.

      • aalleess says:

        *explosion under the Buy More*
        LESTER: Did you feel that?
        JEFF: I haven’t felt anything in years.

        This was the highlight of Muuurder. Everything else was just boring.

      • atcDave says:

        I thought the whole “B” plot was awesome! Kevin Bacon, Big Mike being kidnapped but only on duty hours, the flaming BM; funny stuff.
        Chuck and Morgan screening candidates for “culture” qualification.
        Josie the hypersensitive interrogator, who wants to know how Sarah got Chuck to commit…
        The most obvious suspect actually being guilty.
        And Chuck realizing what really makes the Intersect work, leading to team bonding time with milk and cookies.

        It will never be a great episode. But it has its moments, and I can re-watch it any time.

  11. Well, we’ve arrived at the latter part of the series which is my favorite! The next to seasons show Chuck in the most well rounded light (despite occasional missteps) Sarah grows quite a lot from now to the finale and the Buy More fades to the background (YAY) Volkoff, Mary, Decker and Quinn are all great (I think Quinn was the best villain though; angry, vengeful obsessive and cruel) and Elle gets in on the spy world, consequences are REALISTIC and that is an extremely smart move in writing! Casey is more his own person in this latter part of the series and Morgan well he sets the stage for the finale arc as Chuck wins back his wife after ill-advised choices by both Chuck and Sarah put them back at square one, thankfully without the burden of the job or fluke/forced circumstances!

    I packaged my thoughts on S4and 5 because I have no gripe with ether season and thus no reason to critique individual points or episodes because everything from here on is CHUCK at its best and thus all equally great!

    • revdr says:

      Well, Josh my friend, while I will agree that season 4 was the most fun season, there were too many unanswered questions and plot holes to laud the writing that much. There were several good episodes that were Charah centric and relationship heavy; but the ones that were focused elsewhere didn’t work on many levels. Volkoff was the best big bad of the series, because he, unlike others, had an actual backstory, and Timothy Dalton played him with an air of several layers of crazy. Quinn, not so much, but I’ll save him from season 5. But really he (Quinn) just appeared out of nowhere, and he was very ill defined. As, was Mary; Linda Hamilton was underused and her reason for staying on mission for 20 years frankly, made very little sense. And Casey; he did grow a bit this season, but he too was underused. They could have done so much more with his feelings of becoming a third wheel on the team, and that’s why so many of the episodes this season didn’t make very good use of the full season order, especially since this was the only season that we actually got a full 24, and it was widely thought that this might be the last season; which again makes it all the more puzzling as to the direction they took in season 5, after being given the “gift” of the final 13. The writing was spotty, and budget limitations hurt production values although, again I did think that actually made several episodes feel more intimate. Overall it was a light, fun season, but inconsistent writing and plotting missteps do put an asterisk on what could have been great.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I agree completely about Volkoff v Quinn. But otherwise, well I think I’m somewhere in between on the actual merits of the season. I see some gaffs and minor continuity issues. But I do with S1 and S2 too. It’s television. It’s not meant for the sort of scrutiny we subject it to. The S4 flaws I see are pretty typical of a serialized story in its fourth season. On balance I’m just pleased to get something so outstanding in the later half of a series.
        S5 will be another story.

      • revdr says:

        Absolutely Dave; I just felt like so much more could have been done with the amount of episodes we wound up with. Vivian could have fleshed out more. Casey could have had a more defined role too. Waiting to bring Ellie in so late in the season was not done well (it actually made her look like Lois Lane did all those years). I don’t know if it was CF’s lack of experience running a show, or just not enough discussion in the writer’s room. As it was stated earlier, the wedding was pretty much a given, so more time could have been devoted to fixing those gaffs. That it was serialized should have provided the incentive to plug the holes. I loved many things about season 4, mostly Chuck/Sarah moments of course. The final scene in Suitcase, Sarah’s manipulation of the proposal in Balcony and the interruption afterwards(I still scream at my set when I watch) and the proposal itself in Push Mix (perfect) are just 3 of many….but unfortunately we do overly scrutinize the show, mostly out of love.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah no doubt! Most of what you mention though plays into just wishing the show was longer! I sure wouldn’t give up one second of Chuck and/or Sarah screen time to get any of it.

  12. joe says:

    Wow – Dave. If I was to write a review/synopsis of S4, I’d be wasting my time, You’ve just done it and I wouldn’t change a word.

    The way you describe it, the ratcheting up of the tension, Chuck’s burgeoning professionalism, I realize how intertwined those two things were throughout the series. It’s funny – S3 contains, like you said, some of the worst and some of the best moments the show ever had. Likewise, Chuck was at his most pathetic worst (thinking of whining to Sarah in Mask before the drop through the ceiling) and his best (thinking of his best spy-work in Tic Tac, taking on The Ring in Kathleen’s home). In S4, he starts out stumbling with Sarah in Suitcase and Cubic Z but linearly ascends to the perfect proposal and the real proposal.

    For her part, in S3 Sarah spasmodically oscillates between soulless spy/hero (and relationship-clueless girl) early on to confused spy (in Final Exam) and very real woman (in Honeymooners). It’s one heck of a trip for both. In S4, through a series of one-episode adventures, both mature in their roles very (again I use the word) linearly because the threat is, as you said, personal.

    Ack. I’m probably making sense only to myself. Honestly, I find the whole sequence inspiring.

    • revdr says:

      You make good sense to me, Joe. I agree that the duel journeys of Chuck and Sarah, particularly in s4, was indeed linear, and showed just how immature each of them was, in vastly different ways. Chuck in overcoming self doubt and realizing his potential as a spy and as a man; and Sarah accepting love and trusting herself to be the woman that, up until now, she only dreamed about being. It was all about how their differences made each other better (“I’m different without Chuck and I don’t like it”….”Without you I’m just a spy”) and the sum of 2 parts making a whole, Season 4 gave up that ability to see them growing up together and their respective paths to each other.

      • As far as the relationship itself I agree 100% the best relationships (TV or real world) make each other better by making up for one another’s weaknesses. Its one reason I have LOVED watching Big Bang Theory (I ‘ve watched from day 1) especially over the last 3 years, Penny has learned to deal with Leonard’s bad habits and shortcomings instead of running from them and vice-versa and they’re one of the strongest tv couples because they realized they truly love each other and if two people really love each other they deem the relationship worth it and face all its potential problems regardless of there scale!

        I’ve always viewed the permanent break-up of Ross and Rachael as a cop-out by the writers of FRIENDS because they were afraid to challenge themselves, so when they put them together in the finale it felt like another cop-out

      • revdr says:

        The problem with tv relationships though is that writers are either unwilling, or incapable, of writing stable, loving relationship. The premise being that once they get the couple together the relationship becomes boring. I would beg to differ, by pointing out Mad About You and a few others. Just because 2 people are committed to each other doesn’t mean that there wont be conflict. But that, to me is the beauty of it all. Living, learning and growing together. That should challenge any writer, and it sure is real. It just never seems to pan out. They like angst.

    • I share Dave’s never ending love of the latter part of the series and its one reason I wish the show could’ve gone another few years, because we basically got only 2 1/2 seasons of the show we WANTED to see and it wasn’t enough! by 3-12 Chuck finally has his priorities straight and from then on its much more mature Chuck that exists and any future immaturity or conflict is quickly resolved! it was gratifying to see everyone grow up and become mature adults (Trojan Intersect and occasional relapses aside)

      • atcDave says:

        You’re talking my language now Josh! I love the mature couple we see later.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah, Josh; but unfortunately we didn’t and what we wound up with at the end was mishandled. My point always has been that we were blessed with 3 extra years of a great series that was on life support for all of it’s final 3 years. And, that being said, the 1st 12 episodes of season 3 and the “gift” 13 of season 5 were grossly underwhelming. Especially the final 13. You, yourself are writing a fanfic….is it your intention to write it without a definitive ending? When I come to the end of the story, I want an end to the story. And they lived…..?…..is not an end to the story. You know it’s ending, end it. You can leave the door open for further adventures without ambiguity.

    • atcDave says:

      Well if you say you wouldn’t change a word of mine I must have done good! Thanks Joe.

  13. Rev
    No I don’t intend to end my fan-fic ambiguously. I’ve said multiple times that if I had written S5 I wouldn’t change the finale arc though! I’m one viewer who was always upset that the relationship was forced to happen (in the sense that Chuck was basically mandatorily protected government property) it couldn’t happen naturally and (despite there not being a show without the accidental intersect upload) that always left a weird feeling in my stomach so final plot and ending would’ve stayed the same but I’d have given more context; i.e she embraces him to the ground as the screen fades, or they break the kiss and her eyes widen and she embraces him again more passionately. Basically I would have taken full advantage of Yvonne’s incredible abilities with non verbal communication!

    • revdr says:

      I guess that where we disagree my friend, because I would have probably changed the whole thing. It was ill conceived and poorly executed. The final big bad was very poorly defined, and there was no real reason for his existence. Heck, Shaw had more of a reason to be considered the final villain, given his hatred for Chuck and Sarah. Quinn was just kinda’ there. And of course, as you said the whole faulty intersect/memory suppression thing was a terrible plot point. What should have been done with that final 13 was to push forward to lives of the characters over the course of the 13, not within the last 15-20 minutes of the final episode. As I’ve said before, a poor writing choice is a poor writing choice.

      • That is where we disagree, I think the sole fact that Quinn comes out of nowhere and is the enemy that screws everything up for Charah is suburb writing and makes Quinn a brilliantly menacing final villain! As far as the memory suppression goes; it wasn’t a terrible plot point because what led to it was the haste of Chuck and Sarah wanting a normal life. Chuck ignored his professional instincts in veil, let Quinn escape and gets kidnaped as a result; Sarah neglects to for a plan to rescue Chuck and instead rushes out with the glasses and Casey, right into a surrounding trap and has no choice but to upload the faulty intersect to escape; on the train Sarah knows that Quinn has become desperate and obsessed and that he was already dangerous but again against her better judgment runs after him and is subsequently sedated (via tranq) kidnaped and her memories forcibly suppressed. People might not like it but like Joe I watch television for stuff that is powerful, has real life application (espionage is dangerous, nobody would continually escape unscathed) and while being realistic is able to leave its world and characters in a peaceful hopeful and happy state, still leaving a lasting impact on me.

        That’s just what I look for and I’ll never be swayed from that, much like you won’t be. This view is mostly due to how I was raised but I’m glad I was taught to find real life application in everything fiction it! it has helped deal with the toughest moments of my life!

        So we’ll just agree to disagree:)

      • authorguy says:

        Master villains are never introduced in the final act, that’s just bad writing.
        The villain is always introduced in the very beginning, a figure of no great moment, his true evil cloaked and hidden until the final opportune moment when his time to strike is at hand.
        Or not.

        You inspired me to write a quick drabble on this, which I just now posted over on Fanfiction.net, a little story called ‘Mastermind’.

      • revdr says:

        Hey; you and I are in agreement on looking for an element of realism in the story. But the thing is, the way it was plotted out and presented, it wasn’t real. Yes, Chuck and Sarah wanted a normal life, but by virtue of that ridiculous memory suppression, the chances for that while still possible, are now greatly diminished. For one thing, SARAH DOESNT REMEMBER ANYTHING!. That seems to continue to get overlooked…and undervalued. Then, Chuck now has the intersect….again. There’s nothing that can be considered realistic to think that everything is rosy when they leave that beach. And, as far as Quinn, he wasn’t very menacing at all. He seemed only to be a fairly overweight bad guy, without clear motivation, other that wanting something that, Fulcrum, The Ring, Shaw and other either had or wanted. There was no valid explanation for his existence. In reality, by the time season 5 rolled around, the intersect should have been mercifully gone for good. The story of first Morgan, then Sarah having it was a contrived plot. Sarah’s character was devalued greatly that final season, because she had to take the hit to make Chuck be the hero. That was a poor style choice…take your most popular character and beat them up a liitle (a lot) so that your title character can save the day. Yeah, that’s great writing.

      • revdr says:

        Authorguy; Mastermind was hilarious. But really, even if a villain emerges from the shadows, he had to have a reason to have been hiding there, as well as a reason to have shown himself at that particular moment, or period in time. There was never any concrete explanation of why Quinn existed. As I said, he was just kinda’ there. He wasn’t menacing, or “imposing” (like Mr. Colt) or really convincing as the so called “ultimate big bad”. It’s almost like they waited until the last minute to think him up, because I didn’t see any real creative thought into who, or why he was……

      • authorguy says:

        I completely agree. I think we had a discussion of this a long time ago, about alternative master villains. To be honest, I’d have believed a) Bryce’s clone, b) Bryce’s Evil Twin, or c) Bryce himself, resurrected a second time but without his soul, over an afterthought like Quinn.
        I’m glad you liked my story. Thank you for reading it.

      • uplink2 says:

        They had a chance to make Quinn work much better if they had had him behind the conspiracy with Decker. Have him be the unseen player. Since he lost the Intersect when Bryce stole it, it makes the possibility of him actually being what Decker told us was going on where someone or something was behind everything, Fulcrum, The Ring, Shaw, all of it. But instead they chose to basically throw out the whole idea of a grand conspiracy just so they could bring back Shaw with the ridiculous idea it was all him. That took away any credibility to the Quinn story.

      • revdr says:

        Uplink I agree with that. They pretty much threw the baby out with the bath water. The conspiracy theory would have been a perfect way to explain Quinn’s existence, and his motivation. Instead, he came across as whiny crybaby, mad because they took away his toys. As a villain, he looked more like a fat bully. No more, no less.

  14. duckman says:

    Josh- putting aside the fact that you and I look for the exact opposite in tv, (what does that say about Chuck btw?) Every single thing you just mentioned about the finale arc was unbelievably contrived and ooc as written. Chuck never ignores his instincts, Sarah never fails to plan, casey always takes the shot and never misses,etc. UNLESS they need a bunch of crap to happen in a hurry because they have 4 eps to develop a villan that needed 5 seasons worth of grooming. I wasn’t going to like the finale arc no matter how well it had been written, but I don’t think it would have stung so bad if it hadn’t been so obviously thrown together. I felt insulted at every turn, after feeling insulted every third scene all season.
    I sure do seem to insult easily…

  15. I think it depends how the viewer views the plot

    • revdr says:

      You said you value realism, but that wasn’t an ounce of realism in that final arc. From the time Sarah closed that railway car door, five years of character development was essentially forfeited. The Sarah we knew was gone, and she never came back. Were there signs of that Sarah at the beach, maybe, but again, realistically, we don’t really know. All we know that is that she wants to hear their story. Hey, I would want to as well, especially since I have lost five years of my life, that I CANT REMEMBER. And, speaking from a real pov, I can certainly empathize with her. But, to say that introducing characters, out of blue without some motivational explaination is a good plot device, I can’t buy that. Read any comic book, the bad guy has a motivation, be it greed, or hatred or just plain evil, the only exception being Doomsday, and he killed Superman for the sake of the kill; and even he was provided a backstory at some point. Quinn didn’t have one….he was just there.

      • the consequences that occur as a result of ignoring their professional instincts ARE VERY REAL and I see that as hidden point of the finale that only certain people will notice, the rest naturally will call it contrived, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.

      • revdr says:

        But how did they ignore their professional instincts? They had discussed wanting a normal life as far back as Honeymooners, so that really isn’t a valid point. Priorities naturally change when you start to add children to the mix. It certainly did with my wife and I when our kids entered the picture. So I don’t get that, they already had determined what they wanted, and that final mission was the means to that end. That it didn’t go as planned, that’s a whole other story. That’s why that final arc was ill conceived. They didn’t allow themselves enough time to effectively show any positive changes to the situation, at other that very subtle muscle memory recalls (cups? really?), and a desire to hear their story. That was a subtle raspberry to all of us. There wasn’t an once of realism in any of that. That was conscious decision (admitted) on the part of the writer to leave it to imagination of the viewer. It was cheap, and insulting.

      • oldresorter says:

        Josh – the final scene was a C scene, that had to support a F- amnesia idea. The writers needed to resolve the amnesia, with an awe-sucksy A+ final scene. You need look no further than Castle’s final last night, and those are writers near everyone trusts. It isn’t that nobody likes joyless TV, its that joyless idea’s split your audience. Some find the artsy dramatic type stuff A+++, the problem is some find it F—–. It happened in Chuck S3, in Chuck s5’s final arc, and in Castle last night. It’s nothing about I’m not smart enough to see your POV, I really do. I question whether you see mine (or others), who the final arc, and the resolution on the beach, made us not angry, I’m looking for a better word, disappointed, hurt, stunned, I’m not sure. But obviously, many of us really loved the show, and yet we feel that way. Please try to be more understanding, rather than dismiss us as stupid. Trust me, we are not!

      • revdr says:

        OR; I’m gonna defend Josh just a bit. I honestly don’t believe that he thinks that we’re stupid. He’s just steadfast (there’s that word again :)) in his opinion about season 5 and the final arc as being something that he really liked. Just as I (we?) am in not liking it so much. He (Josh) has said on several occasions that he respects our opinions and seems to go out of his way to explain why he liked that storyline so much…just as I have been as passionate in my dislike. Cut him a little slack, he just loves the show just like we do; even if he is a little misguided :).

      • oldresorter says:

        Rev – the whole notion that ‘certain people’ are able to understand, and nobody else can is insulting. I’ve cut Josh plenty of slack, I like his comments, it is the give and take of the comments from both sides that make this fun. And, I still keep hoping that someone will say something that makes me feel less bitter about the ending. Without people like Josh, there would be no hope – LOL. But, this direction of some hidden meaning that only special people understand, that’s crap! We all get it, the ending was not complex or deep, it was elementary and superficial.

      • atcDave says:

        This has been an issue since the show ended; viewers at both extremes can rub each other very wrong. I find myself annoyed with both the “loved it” AND “hated it” crowd!

        Let’s try to be respectful of each other. There is no particular stupidity or ill will on either side. Intelligent, well meaning viewers reacted at both extremes.

      • revdr says:

        Oh yeah OR; I, like you keep looking for a reason to better like the finale; but my disdain is directed more at TPTB who, without apology, to this day cling to the notion that the ambiguity of the ending was a good thing, and dismiss the naysayers out of hand talking about how “cool” their ending was. Their defense has been no defense, since the majority of fans seemed to like it. I don’t disregard any of this, and certainly I respect the popular viewpoint, but, I will continue to vigorously express my dissenting view. However, I still am gaining new insight into why those of us who did like the finale, actually liked it.

      • atcDave says:

        rev I think the best reason for speaking up is just that the trend is towards these sort of artsy, incomplete stories. And I just hate that as a trend. I want a proper conclusion, an epilogue. I want to know WHY the story mattered, and how the protagonists were affected by it. I want to see them enjoy the fruits of their victory.

      • revdr says:

        For sure Dave; we’ve talked about this ad nauseam. I want an actual end to a story before you start a new one. The idea that your imagination is the key to determining the end either tell me that you as the creator don’t know the end yourself, or that it’s an inside joke; to inside for the casual observer. In either case, at least to me, it’s rather insulting, and very cruel. And ultimately, a betrayal of my trust.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, I agree with you about this trend in finales. I don’t like it either. But I do think it isn’t entirely based on a trend towards being “artsy”. There are enough examples of “artsy” finales failing miserably with at least a large portion of their audience. But I think a big reason is economic. The incomplete artsy ending allows for the possibility of more. Hell DR reported that they were told to leave open the possibility of more by NBC no matter what they were saying publicly. Had they had numbers similar to Grimm they just might have been given that back 9. And that is what the arc needed, a 9 episode resolution arc.

        Look at the Dexter finale. Now there were may problems with the finale but a huge part of the very negative reaction was the stupid lumberjack scene. They gave an excuse about that being a worse punishment than death but it has been reported Showtime would not let them kill him off. The show had been the one that made the network and they wanted to assure the possibility of more somewhere down the road.

        In Chuck’s case would there be as big a clamor for a movie if we got that recovery arc we all were hoping for? So they chose to satisfy the financial needs over your loyal fan needs. I guess I get it but once in a while I’d like to see the fans take precedence especially when it would have taken so little to make a major change in reaction. I mean there are many many ways it could have been done but all it really needed were 3 additional words. “Chuck? Shut up and kiss me” with a beautiful Yvonne Strahovski smile. Even just that would have had a major affect on the reaction.

      • authorguy says:

        Even if they’s ended where they did, just her using those words instead of what she did say would have meant a lot to most of us, a major call back to her past.

      • revdr says:

        Uplink; I would buy that if there weren’t just as much of a clamor for a West Wing reunion or a Gilmore Girls movie after 7-8 years. Although the GG series finale was rushed it still tied up enough loose ends to envision a happy ending, and WW provided closure to every major character, including Rob Lowe’s, and he had left the show 3 years before. I think that, like Dave has eluded to, that it boils down to a style choice, and the rather flippant attitude by creators that whether or not the fans like it, this is MY story, and I’m sticking to it. You have only to go back a month or so to the HIMYM finale to see my theory in play, since they had decided to stick to an ending that they conceived 5 years prior, not taking into account how invested their fans were now into Robin/Barney and the final introduction of the mother. I have said that I certainly respect the creator’s right to create, but it becomes a double-edged sword when you as a writer/creator are asking me to fall in love with your characters and concepts. I would rather they follow Joss Whedon’s thought process if they want to continue this writing style: don’t fall in love with my characters, because unless your name is in the title, no one is safe. That’s why I watch everything now, expecting the worst, so as to not be disappointed with the way things turn out.

      • uplink2 says:

        Plus Marc it would have given me the one thing I desperately wanted that was totally missing from the finale, a memory with actual context. A returned memory that was about Chuck and Sarah and not just stupid cups on a counter or Irene DeMova. A memory recall that was stimulated by Chuck telling her their story. I know for me it would have made all the difference in the world and all it took was 3 little words of dialog and all the joy of that moment in Paris would have been brought back for all of us to rejoice in once again. But they simply couldn’t do it or should I say wouldn’t do it.

      • authorguy says:

        The worst possibility is that it simply never occurred to them to phrase it that way.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree completely that slight dialogue change would have made a big difference. Especially if its accompanied by a happy smirk.

        I don’t believe the demand for an open ending needed to be a big deal. All it really means is don’t kill off a main character!

      • uplink2 says:

        Unfortunately I think that is a huge possibility.

  16. Rev

    My point about Big bang is that the writers are doing something VERY RIGHT on that show and have been for several years (I count EVERY relationship in that) unlike CHUCK there has been steady consistent character and thus relationship growth and its been a joy to watch (and obviously hilarious)

    • joe says:

      TBBT came close to blowing it Thursday, but pulled it out masterfully with Leonard’s little trick. Yes? They’re making that a habit. I thought they made a mistake dropping Lucy too. But I must admit, I like Raj’s new girl.

      I’m cross-eyed from tonight’s Castle. As much as I like the show (and I like it a lot), I think this was a big miss. They might prove me wrong, but the wait will be excruciatingly long.

      With Monroe and Rosalee getting married on Grimm (and with Julliette seemingly ready to reconsider her relationship with Nick, according to the one promo I’ve seen), and with Theresa and Patrick on The Mentalist seemingly headed for deeper waters, it seems like all the couples in TV land are taking the next step. Now if only Annie and Augie would get together…

      • revdr says:

        BBT hit a in the park homerun Thursday, Joe. Castle I pretty much predicted here a day or 2 ago. Hopefully it will get resolved in the 1st couple of episodes in late Sept. Annie and Augie, I’m not holding my breath on that one, at least not just yet………

      • messy and conflict ridden has ALWAYS been Leonard and Penny though. from the second episode that’s been “them” the friendship and eventual relationship! What’s great is they’ve accepted that and deal with it! the writers really are brilliant for having them deal with each others issues and not run from them.

        that writing reminds me of my parents relationship:)

      • revdr says:

        Yeah, in a lot of ways, Penny and Leonard are just like Chuck and Sarah, although I would think that Sarah’s intellect is a bit higher than Penny’s. But essentially, the biggest hold up for L/P was deciding what’s important; career or happiness? Ring any bell? I just hope that they don’t drop the ball on that one. Only time and twitter, will tell.

      • Josh says:

        I don’t believe they will, infact I think there is great comedy as L/P and S/A move forward! Which isn’t usually the case for a show that’s about to finish its 7th yr!

      • TBBT++

        The Castle finale was a combination of a Bones story line with a little of the Alias season 4 finale. Looking at the fan reaction, though, I’m seeing “character assassination” discussions. It’s like Chuck after Pink Slip, plus this has a longer hiatus than Mask. Unlike the Chuck fandom with Fedak, the Castle fandom is very loyal to episodes written by Marlowe/Miller. The finale was written by Marlowe/Miller, so I think a lot of them feel betrayed. On spoilertv, an immediate reaction poll, the previous episode got a 92.87% Awesome and 1% Awful. The finale got 39.83% Awesome and 24% Awful.

        Of the Castle finales, I’ve only liked S2 and S5. S4 was a good end, but the episode was awful. S3 was one of my least favorite of the series. I just hope the show has a planned cancellation, because I don’t trust it to end in a good place. Chuck always had a nice end with a twist, which might have been bad, but implied the adventures continued.

      • oldresorter says:

        Joe – Joe – Joe. Here we go again with a fun, little show getting dramatic, because they feel like they have to write a different show at the end of the season. Castle has a habit of doing that as much as any action romcom (Kate got shot at the end of a different season), but this end didn’t bother me. I mean, he got kidnapped. No big deal. Now, had the series ended last night, that would have been very Chuck-like. Fans, write your own ending. The showrunner could go on all kinds of interviews and mark smart butt comments like, ‘It”s Kate and Rick, if you want them to be OK, they will be. kate will find him, they’ll get married, if you want them to.’

        But, it wasn’t a series final, it was a season final. Everything will be OK. Probably get married in episode 3 of next season?

      • authorguy says:

        One can hope. I found the series finale of Lovejoy very depressing in that respect. He gets kidnapped on the way to his wedding, his bride assumes it’s a scam and cancels, then takes a job in NY. He ends up where he started, only his friends have all left him behind.

      • oldresorter says:

        Joe, I read a few things about the Mentalist season final (is the Mentalist renewed?). Both Jane and Theresa were along with the showrunner(s) in the interview. It sounds like the ending is going to be controversial, although knowing these hollywood types, maybe that means the wt/wt will be resolved? Who knows these days?

      • atcDave says:

        Jason too funny for the Castle end! If CF wrote Castle…

        It is true I haven’t liked a single one of their season finales yet. Just hope Marlowe does better when it is time to actually end the show!

    • revdr says:

      I agree Josh; they are doing some things very right on BBT. It’s easy to do that when you already know that you’re renewed through 2017. So you have at least 72 more episodes to play with. That is a luxury that we NEVER had with Chuck. That’s why those final 13 episodes were so precious, because it was the only time in the history of the show when we knew what we had to work with in those final 13 episodes. So the choices that TPTB are all the more insulting, because they didn’t take their longtime fans into consideration… at all. True enough, they didn’t really owe us anything; we only fought to keep the show alive for the final 3 years. But, contrary to their claim that the final season, and the finale in particular, was a “love letter to the fans” seems a bit disingenuous, considering the ambiguity of the final episode.

      • I’ll give you that without a single gripe:) 2, three year renewals make it MUCH easier to write the story BBT will very likely go past 10 seasons!

  17. I would say your a let less likely to be disappointed by a present tense comedy then a past tense comedy or any drama. Take the office for example that was a HUGE cast and yet Greg Daniels wrapped EVERTHING as perfect as it could’ve been! which isn’t something I seen a show of the last 10 years do

  18. revdr says:

    The same can be said of The West Wing Josh; they actually told us what happened to every major character…many in the 1st episode of the 7th season, with a flash forward several years ahead. Every major thread was concluded and, as I said earlier they even brought back Rob Lowe to tie up his character’s storyline and he had left the series 3 years prior. Some showrunners actually do pay homage to their longtime fans and let them know that they were actually listening to what they had to say. After Chuck’s finale, I cant really say that about them.

  19. OR

    We champion or criticize the finale based on our own life experiences, personalities and overall view of the world and how each of those things made us feel connected to the show. I’m just a deeper meaning kind of guy so I thought the finale was great writing. For whatever reason certain people might not see it as I do and I’m ok with that!, but I’m never going to shy away from pointing out my perspective on various points of the show! as REV eluded to I have not meant to imply that anybody is stupid for not seeing my POV and if I’ve come across that way at times then I apologize, I simply meant that what has occurred in my live gives me a perspective on the finale and show that other people may or may not have.

    • revdr says:

      Josh, I’ve always seen your pov, and I have praised you for overcoming adversity; but that being said, where you and I differ is that where you saw realism in the finale, I did not, primarily based on real experiences in dealing with memory loss and recovery. Good writing cannot be attributed to poor research, and faulty conceptualization. There was no logical thought in conceiving that final arc, other than they wanted the series ending to culminate on that beach. If you just write something on a page, but it makes no logical sense, then ultimately they are just words, with no real meaning. I’m happy that you see a deeper meaning, me I see TPTB, sticking out their tongues and giving me the finger.

      • authorguy says:

        Not necessarily bad research. One thing that bothers me about some of the complaints with the finale is that they are based on real experiences with amnesia, as if what the Intersect does to Sarah is like that. It’s a made-up technology, so I saw the results as artificial in nature and ultimately reversible. The whole storyline was poorly conceived, but not for that reason.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah AG; I get that. In saying that my experience with memory loss bothered me in the way it was handled in the finale was the downplaying of the suppression, or the severity of it., as if to say: oh well, Sarah’s memories are gone; she may or may not get them back, but she just has to accept that and move on. So what if 5 years of her life are missing? She can fall in love with her husband again, someone she current doesn’t really know right now, but everything will be just swell, because love conquers all. Hey, no one believes in love more that I do, but that contrived plot really insulted my intelligence.

      • authorguy says:

        Ah, not the memory loss itself but her reaction to it. I definitely agree with you there. That’s why I wrote Not This Time.

  20. oldresorter says:

    Kate Morgan had another great outing last night!

  21. revdr says:

    I gotta say guys; this is the greatest time ever to be a fanboy….with Arrow and S.H.I.E.L.D., plus the addition of Agent Carter, The Flash, Gotham, I.Zombie, and Constantine. It cant get much better than this. And this is just the small screen…….

  22. revdr says:

    Gemma and Fitz?

    • oldresorter says:

      Yep. Fitz is so much like Chuck. Gemma’s not, she is a bit unlike other characters on TV. My guess is that one’s not going to go very well, especially next season, maybe never. And they are somewhat minor characters, if they go stupid with that arc next season, it really doesn’t change the show. But, written as they were last season, every scene they were in rocked.

      Speaking of shipping, Arrow had a little fun with Olicity last night. That show in terms of LI’s I have no cares what so ever, the whole cast could have a group orgy, and I’d laugh. Not sure why, I could care less who any of the main cast is or is not with. Usually I do?

      • revdr says:

        I agree. There is a strong similarity to Chuck in Fitz. And Gemma is so innocently naïve that she cant seem to see the forest for the tree. It’s fun to watch. I don’t know about Olicity though; being a Green Arrow/Black Canary fan since they first put them together in 1969 (I know; showing my age) they gotta go there….but since Arrow in no way is a slave to canon, it could be interesting.

      • oldresorter says:

        Rev – naive, that is the word, isn’t it? I wonder, if that isn’t what some of us, who shipped Chuck and Sarah, saw in both of them? Even though sarah might have been engaged in the world’s oldest profession, she still had a certain naive quality when it came to relationships. I wonder if that isn’t it? While others saw her as less that way, hence her being beaten, or tortured, or her memory taken away for the duration of the show, or sleeping with her creepy stalker boss didn’t bother them?

        The second thing, related to Arrow, I see myself liking the Laurel character much more than most. But, when the showrunners give you lines like ‘take care of Oliver, he needs you’, that is insulting, isn’t it? I don’t want the writers to tell me I have to like this couple, I want the action and chemistry between the couple to make me like the couple. Shaw and Sarah, and Shaw himself, we were told we should like them or that they were a perfect match, and that he was this world class spy. The actual action, told us otherwise.

      • revdr says:

        I regards to Laurel; I’m thinking that they are deliberately letting the character develop slowly, so that we get to grow to like her. Everyone familiar with the character in the comic knows that she eventually becomes Black Canary, but here, she, at least early on, has been more of an antagonist, rather than a protagonist and titular love interest. And let’s face it: Felicity is so darn cute…..

      • revdr says:

        In regards….sorry

      • thinkling says:

        I’ve got to catch up on my comics. Like Oldresorter, I’m not too interested in shipping anyone on Arrow, and I find it makes the show almost more enjoyable — or is that less annoying — when they do … what show runners seem to be obliged to do with LIs. But I do love Felicity — hands down my favorite character. My husband and I commented that it’s a good thing she’s on the show. She brings the light and goodness that the show needs, not to mention (quite often) the comic relief.

    • revdr says:

      Oh yeah; there was most definitely a strong naivety in regards to things of an emotional and personal nature in Sarah. You can see in the myriad of facial expressions in the wonderful Yvonne; confusion, fear, naivety…everything. And you can see over the course of the first 2 seasons especially, those walls come tumbling down. And you experience it all with. I that way, especially, Sarah comes across as a child experiencing the depths of her emotions for the first time. She even admits this in season 3 in “Tooth’ (“I’ve never felt this was before”). If they did anything right in character development over the seasons it was certainly with Sarah, because she had the most growth of anyone. That’s why she became the most popular character on the show; and I fear that that is the reason that TPTB felt it so necessary to bulldoze Sarah, particularly at the end, because she was overshadowing the title’s character’s story.

      • atcDave says:

        I saw polls indicating Sarah was the most popular character on the show even in S1, so it’s not just her growth that made her so appealing. I think she was irresistible for being perfectly tough and sweet at the same time. And she believed in Chuck right from the Pilot. She was the sort of friend and protector everyone would want. And when it turned out the protector was herself fragile in certain key ways, well it was beyond compelling.
        And I think that immediate affection viewers felt for her was amplified by her dramatic growth throughout the series.

        I don’t think CF had any animosity towards the character, I think he just wasn’t as interested. He always saw her more as a plot device or prize than an actual character. But I will admit I occasionally wondered. I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility that he resented Sarah Walker.

      • revdr says:

        I don’t know Dave. I just harken back to most, if not all of the cliffhangers, where Sarah was relegated to a minor role in the story’s culmination. Here in season 4 both in “Push Mix” and especially in “Cliffhanger” Sarah became a sideline player because Chuck had to be hero. I think that he did in some ways hold some resentment for her.

      • uplink2 says:

        I think part of is is that the casting of Zach and especially Yvonne changed the direction of the show from how he had originally envisioned it. Her popularity in the fanbase wasn’t what he expected. The show was about Chuck’s heroes journey to him and everything else was available to serve whatever that journey needed in his mind. Sarah was most definitely a plot device used to tell Chuck’s story not the other way around like the majority of the fans wanted. It’s simply how he envisioned and saw the show. But that also translated into other characters as well. I mean Fedak seems to be the one person who is totally in love with the Shaw character. I still don’t think he sees him as the disaster he truly was. No one bought into the failed story more and no one loves Daniel Shaw as much as Chris Fedak.

      • revdr says:

        True enough Uplink; and to be fair, we who were more than casual viewers of the show were able to see the parallel journeys for both Chuck and Sarah, although, I saw more of that in seasons 1 and 2, and I attribute a lot of that to the original writing team. Kristin Newman found Sarah’s voice in season 4. I dont think that CF ever did. Season 3 was the anomaly, and that was primarily because of the errors in judgment plot wise. That stalled any growth for both of them. I agree about Shaw as well; he was just never fleshed out very well, and because of it he always seemed stiff and 1 dimensional.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I think that’s exactly right Uplink. The last two seasons he at least payed lip service to the idea it was a shared journey, and Sarah absolutely got more screen time. But he exposed his true interest at finale time, and Chuck got almost all the late season heroics.

        So he had a Chuck-centric view of his own show, and an odd view on romance; but I don’t think that necessarily translates into saying he resented Sarah’s popularity. That might (!) be the case, but I don’t think its fair to assume that.

      • atcDave says:

        No doubt CF loved Shaw. Although I would guess, if CF designed the character, JS added the triangle. So CF may, in his own mind, have far less baggage with the character than many viewers do.
        I’d also say he liked Morgan more than many viewers. But in my experience, Morgan is more popular with casual viewers than he is with “us”. So it’s possible he’s actually more in step with the main stream than we are on that one.

      • Wilf says:

        Fascinating just why Fedak was so taken by the Shaw character. I’m sure he’s handsome (Shaw), yes, 😉 , but the part he was given was severely lacking in, well, anything … what was that all about? They could have given Shaw a great part, in line with their evident view of the character as an asset to the show but, instead, they made him an idiot before whom all the greatest spies also became idiots.

      • atcDave says:

        Honestly I think the romance angle doomed the character. Not only was it an unwanted waste of screen time, it set many of us against him before he even did anything. We knew, from all the spoilers, where is character was likely heading months before Pink Slip even ran. I think it was guaranteed as early as Comic Con that I couldn’t like anything about the character.
        Which I know is getting into all sorts of pop psychology nonsense, and I’m not saying the character was actually a good one, or well written, or any such. Only that I know I was LOOKING to dislike him before he was ever even on screen.
        While CF may well have exactly the opposite bias. He knows what he wanted to do with the character, he knows what he was meant to be. Its possible he give the romantic angle no thought at all. He is simply enamored of his IDEA of this perfect spy gone bad.

        So I suspect, especially as we hear more from newer viewers who watch through all of this without all the “noise” us old-timers had; that the “truth” of Shaw is somewhere in between. If the romance had been dropped we MIGHT have been left with the story of an occasionally capable, occasionally difficult team-mate who was deeply flawed and eventually chose the wrong side. And at least in late S3 he DID make a better villain than he ever did ally. Perhaps, without the dreaded romance angle, we actually would have “loved to hate” this character and we all would have been enthused to see his brief return in S5.

        Nawwwww……

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, you beat me to it. I was thinking as I read through this thread that CF seemed to like the Bromance better than the Romance.

        Great summation of the various reasons that Sarah was so popular. She was an amazing and extraordinary combination of so many appealing traits and talents. I give Yvonne credit for that. Even if that’s exactly what the writers envisioned (which I doubt they envisioned that kind of depth), it takes an incredibly gifted actress to pull it off. I was constantly amazed at her ability to be tough and still vulnerable, a hard as nails agent that was still feminine, with heart and nobility … well you said it better. Yvonne just made Sarah that amazing character we fell in love with, and I don’t think CF expected it, or knew what to do with it at first. And then there was that YS/ZL chemistry. All of that just exploded, and took on a life of its own that the fans responded with unbridled enthusiasm.

      • atcDave says:

        Thinkling I always wonder how challenging it is sometimes for the creators to come to grips with performances that vary from their original vision. Occasionally we’ll hear of a very wise show runner who changes the focus of their show to match the reality of what’s happening on screen. We definitely got some of this on Chuck. Like making Devon a good guy, who was exactly as he seemed.
        And as mentioned before, expanding Sarah’s part quite a bit in the last two seasons.

        Zac and Yvonne were both excellent casting. And while the show was built on Zac’s charisma; I think Yvonne’s charisma, and their shared chemistry, went even beyond what CF realized.

        To be fair, we’ve heard CF mention that chemistry in interviews. But even to the very end, I think the show would have been a little different if he really understood.

      • revdr says:

        Thinkling; I truly believe that chemistry was a huge factor in the way things were done between Zac and Yvonne from the very beginning. It’s certainly a big reason they chose to abandon the other girlfriend character from the original pilot. And let’s all face it, both of them at times had to rise about the material that they were given. Zac pretty much fit their vision of Chuck as though the character was fashioned with him in mind; and Yvonne surpassed all expectations by being much more than a pretty face; and it’s that face that made Sarah’s character, because she was always so expressive….if looks could kill, or make you want to cry or make you want take her in your arms, Yvonne could evoke those emotions in you; easily and effortlessly. That’s why she was so popular. She always played Sarah with this tough but vulnerable veneer. Best of both worlds.

      • uplink2 says:

        I think it was that chemistry that made them change the direction of the show post Helicopter they have talked about. The pissed off mean Sarah wasn’t what folks wanted to see and they realized that. Also the battle with her and Casey though great to watch had to end there.
        But back on the topic of Shaw, Dave though I see your point I have to bring up again that I was unaware of any of the spoilers other than the promos NBC ran. I had no preconception of what his character was. But look at his introduction in both Three Words and Operation Awesome. They are telling us he is some great spy and the foremost expert on the Ring yet what they showed us was anything but. In Three Words he comes off as creepy and somehow the head of the NSA and a General’s boss. In OA he asks someone, a rookie to shoot him close range and fake his death. Then proceeds to shoot a woman in the back who was simply going for a knife without ever trying to disarm her so they could capture her and interrogate her. It immediately showed it was never about taking down the Ring but killing the Ring for revenge. Plus his whole “I’m always right, it’s annoying but true” didn’t help one bit.
        I think Fedak was in love with the Shaw character that was written on the white board in the writers room but it seems he never watched what was actually being shown on screen. It’s all an illusion that is simply in his head and was never actually shown. Plus Routh simply isn’t a likeable and charismatic actor that people are going to be root for no matter what the role is.
        I agree that the romance angle totally killed the character and severely damaged Sarah, For me the only way to have at least partially redeemed him was to have actually included the deleted scenes and pushed the Shaw has a big secret storyline without the stupid romance. But Sarah is playing him to find out what that secret is as she doesn’t trust him one bit.

      • joe says:

        @Rev

        Yvonne surpassed all expectations by being much more than a pretty face;

        Oh, yes. You got me wondering, though, just when I first thought that Yvonne was more than a pretty face. I might have thought so when Chuck “saved” the ballerina, but no. Certainly by the time Sarah was barely able to hold back tears (in Alma Mater, when it became clear Bryce too had been trying to save Chuck) I knew it. But earlier?

        Maybe by the shoulder bump. For me, there’s no doubt that there much more to be learned about Sarah Walker when Chuck flashed on her ring at the very end of vs. The Intersect. That’s when I knew her smile hid a lot of history.

      • revdr says:

        Joe; For me, it’s difficult to pinpoint that “moment”. I sometimes say that it was on that building roof in the pilot when she realizes that Chuck was more that even she thought he was, to 2 scenes in “Wookie” when 1) she realizes that Chuck knows about Bryce, and 2) when she gets pissed at Chuck for being pissed at her about Bryce. And yes, the shoulder bump does say a lot on the beach.

      • atcDave says:

        My good impression of Yvonne developed very quickly. In spite of my very first thought being “funny they cast a prettier girl as the sister than the romantic interest”, by the end of the Pilot I was quite impressed they found an actress who could play sweet and tough equally well. It made me laugh when on the S1 discs JS and CF discuss how hard it was to cast Sarah for exactly that issue!
        So I was reasonably impressed with her range from the Pilot, and I was blown away by Alma Mater. And even though I’ve commented on the soap opera arc (1.08-1.11) as my least favorite stretch of S1, Yvonne owned those episodes. Especially Nemesis. I knew she was pretty special by then.

  23. I 2nd Dave JS was responsible for making an idiot of shaw

  24. revdr says:

    I don’t think that Shaw was an idiot Josh; if anything he just wound up being underdeveloped, and 1 dimensional. He had the potential to be this really great, fully formed character who it would have been so much fun to watch go from hero to villain. But his story missed so many beats, and BR played him way to stiff. He would up being this cardboard cutout with not real depth. The triangle hurt the character true enough, but unlike Volkoff, who knew who he was at all times, Shaw at times just seemed as though even he was unsure of his motivation, for anything.

    • oldresorter says:

      There’s a couple of different places this could be placed, but I’ll toss it in right here. As far as Shaw on Chuck, characters still get fed endearing lines or not, and Shaw might have gotten the worst lines and scenes imaginable. Regardless of what CF thought of Shaw / Routh, his writing team sure wasn’t in love with him. I say that as compared to Felicity on Arrow who it sounds like we all love. She essentially gets line after line of pricelessness. She almost never says anything that isn’t witty, funny, dear, cute, smart, loyal, etc. Now she delivers those lines really, really well too, but still, she gets great lines. Chuck and Sarah both got fed great lines for near all of the first two seasons, but for some reason, lots of those epic lines started going to Morgan in s3 thru s5. Not all of them, but way too many. And the final pair of eps sure could have used some (lots of) witty repartee between the dynamic duo instead of joyless apathy from Sarah and desperate failure after failure from Chuck. Oh well?

    • revdr says:

      You know OR; that’s something that I didn’t really get; We all knew of budget cuts and limitations with the show occurred beginning in season 3, and, I would have thought that because of that the writing would have taken center stage, becoming tighter and more intimate. And, I did see a difference, but early on, and for most of season 3, it was like they were feeling their way. It’s really was puzzling, considering that team had been together for 3 years at that point. Maybe because of the very poor plot choices, they often seemed mired in mud, and lost sight of the characters, especially Chuck and Sarah. They were so determined to make Morgan a larger part of the show, everything else, especially the romance, suffered. Surprisingly, it was the initial 13 that felt rushed, which didn’t make any sense, considering the season didn’t even debut until January; and although CF may have been enamored of Shaw, he never seemed to know who he was, and it became difficult do anything other than dislike him because we never got to know him. Where Volkoff was fun, Shaw was, like Quinn later on, just blah. It wasn’t until the back 6 did the show find itself, and that was of course because the romance, finally, took the lead, and the show became fun again.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the bottom line is, the romance was the most compelling part of the show, and they shelved it for 12 episodes. Not only that, it was 12 episodes when we were all primed and ready for it.
        Like going to a concert, and being told the featured artist might not make it. With no good explanation and no offer of a refund. It would be disappointing and deflating.

        I think the writing was doomed the moment the arc decisions were made. Nothing could have fixed it apart from scuttling.

        That said, the budget did impact the writers’ room. I believe they lost a full day on each episode’s production cycle. So they went from like six days to write an episode to only five. The lost time MAY have effected their routine and the final bit of polish. I think they lost a body too; went from six writers on full time staff to five (?). I’m less sure about the second part, but I kind of remember them adding someone back late in S3 (or early S4?).

      • authorguy says:

        What doomed the arc is that the story as presented wasn’t really Chuck in tone. Even if they had managed to write it well, it would have been a very dark and dramatic story that probably wouldn’t have pleased the shippers. The loss of any writers only would have made a bad situation worse.

      • revdr says:

        Well, I know that Ali Adler, Matt Miller, and Phil Klimmer all left at the end of s3, although Klimmer returned sometime in s4. And they elevated LeFranc and Judkins and Kristin Newman in s4. There is no doubt that the romance or lack thereof nearly killer the show in season 3, but even with the reduced schedule, the fact that they had additional time before the season began should have given them more of a lead to get it right. I think that because JS was so intent on following his ideas for further wt/wt for the bulk of s3 was the biggest factor/fault/failure and his refusal to acknowledge the fans concerns until it was almost too late was key.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh I agree completely about the biggest problem.

        But the extra time did their production schedule no good at all. They started and finished about the same time as any series. But I believe they eliminated a weekend day from the schedule. However they did it, I think they had less time and less staff at every step of the way.
        And yeah Klemmer is who I was thinking of that came back. The LaJudkins team (husband and wife, they seem to count as a single unit) and Newman were replacements for outgoing staff. There was some overlap, I don’t know the contract details on how all such happened. But I do remember when Klemmer returned they said it brought their numbers back to where they had been in the first two seasons.

      • atcDave says:

        Marc/AG I agree with that completely. As I always say, it was doomed at conception. The rest is just details.
        Still, it can be interesting to fuss over the details too…

      • uplink2 says:

        In season 3 the show still began shooting at about the same time it would have even if it was airing in September. So the entire first arc was in the can when Pink Slip aired. But it is clear they knew about the backlash very early on. The disastrous comments at Comicon along with leaks of Hannah and Shaw and more WTWT was already well known by September. I’d love to see an archive of the NBC boards I never got to read. That is why they had Ali Adler do her infamous “Love, Love ” video in an attempt to calm the grumbling. I never saw it till much later but it was so offensive. “Trust us, we know what we are doing” and “I don’t know if we will get there but I want to” while pointing at the wedding pic from Suburbs. I believe it was done around the time she was writing Fake Name. The problem was they didn’t know what the audience was actually saying. They simply sloughed it off as unhappy Charah shippers complaining they weren’t together and nothing more. But they had a major problem they tried to minimize and it came off as dismissive. I don’t think they actually even watched the finished episodes TBH. All of the interviews I’ve read come off that way and it wasn’t until Comicon 2010 I got the feeling they finally understood they had screwed up big time.

      • atcDave says:

        Most insulting video ever…

        The NBC boards were fun. Talk about an angry reaction! It was explosive!

        Of course that’s also indirectly how this site was formed. The moderators expunged pages of discussion and banned dozens of commenters on the grounds of bringing in illegal spoilers (I think it had to do with video from the Comic Con panels). Joe and I both got caught up in that. I know for myself, and I think this was true of Joe too, I never even knew what an illegal spoiler was. I had never even visited another site, much less quoted one. But in the frenzied discussions I dared comment, on a comment, that I apparently wasn’t supposed to know about. Funny.
        I’m actually glad for that jerk moderator. It made this site happen.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, that’s pretty much it, Dave. Except I recall being quite certain that I was well aware of the restrictions and definitions. Apparently, their understanding was somewhat different, and I got put into NBC’s comment board jail.

        I almost accepted that, right up to the point where my sentence was extended. That, I never understood.

        So you can blame the moderator there for ChuckThis! They made me do it! 😉

      • uplink2 says:

        It is truly bizarre that they had to delete comments, and ban posters because they talked about leaked spoilers that TPTB had leaked themselves. It must have been a riot to read. I just wonder what their reaction was when they were told or read that the boards of the official site were exploding with negativity about their story choices. It’s quite clear they knew about it but I still say part of their problem was they were listening to some self appointed fan reps that were simply total fan boys and girls and would never question a decision they made because they were worried about losing access. So they got a glossed over vision of the real issues developing. Plus their own hubris played a part in it as well.

        But hey I’m glad the mods were like that as I never would have met all of you guys and enjoyed myself so much over the years.

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh and BTW Happy Third Anniversary to Chuck and Sarah Bartowski!!!

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Joe I actually knew what the terms meant, I only meant that I had no idea what I had done that violated it. And since I KNEW I hadn’t brought any outside info in, it HAD to have meant I hit “reply” to something I wasn’t supposed to. I was actually lifted from moderation briefly, then restricted again. And I had no more idea the second time than the first. And of course they’d deleted everything so I couldn’t even go back and figure it out!

        Uplink I was never quite sure if it was overly aggressive fan-girl behavior or power mad big fish in small pond. Either way, its funny in hindsight and it worked out well for all of us. Especially since the NBC forums are now long gone, but we’re still here.

      • uplink2 says:

        Yea, but we’ve talked about this before, mush of the history is lost and I think that is a shame. That Ali Adler video is long gone and I’m not sure anyone has a copy of it or at least I’ve never seen it resurface. It’s why I hope the remaining sites like this and ChuckTV get archived somehow. I think its important especially for new fans of the show to read it’s history. The NBC site is virtually gone completely with only 1 pic as a banner left. It would have been great if somewhere the NBC boards had been archived as well. Many older articles are no longer available either. It’s sad when such great history is lost.

      • revdr says:

        Uplink, you can still find archived pages from TWOP (r.i.p.) and Fan Forum. I looked for the Ali vid, but it’s nowhere to be found . It is a shame that not only things like that are lost, especially to newcomers to the show, so that they can gauge the feelings of those of us who were there at the beginning with their own. I see that happen with a lot of good fan fiction as well. Recently a Gilmore Girls fan fic site was taken down (GG fiction.net/BWR) and a lot of quality fan fics were lost. I certainly wouldn’t want that to happen to Chuck

      • atcDave says:

        Fan Fiction disappearing is definitely a fear of mine! I save as much to my own computer as I can.
        At one point, NBC had a separate page for “legacy” sites of their old shows. But they seem have purged a lot of forums.

        We hope to keep this site up for a long time. Unfortunately there really is no way to say “forever”.

      • duckman says:

        I’ve looked for that ali adler vid myself, morbid curiosity I suppose. I’m still holding out hope that it will appear, if only on the down low for nutjob fans like us. I’ve also searched casually for a vid of fedak getting booed at comicon, haven’t found that either.
        I can honestly say I’ve gotten as much enjoyment from this site in the last 10 or 11 months as I did from the show itself. Same with the fanfiction, dave gets the credit for that. I really don’t regret quitting the show live, If I had seen more episodes I’d probably have quit sooner. I do regret missing out on the fandom all this time, would have been fun.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah the discussions and community here are an experience above and beyond the show itself.

      • uplink2 says:

        duckman, here is the “Emotional and Traumatic” comment from Schwartz where he get’s moans and almost booed and Comicon 2009. It is at 6:25 in.

        Here is his attempt at damage control when he realized he had made a HUGE mistake in his comments and he knew the fans were already revolting. He went to ChuckTV which he knew were the most sympathetic group of fanboys and girls to try and begin the damage control.

      • duckman says:

        Thank you so much for those vids Uplink. JS kinda sounds like a state level polititian there. Didn’t really lie too much but never answered the question either. I can understand not wanting to spoil the story for everyone, but they seem to treat it like a national secret. If they’re not gonna say more than that, why even show up?

  25. I know this is a CHUCK Blog but I gotta say BEST season finale of BBT to date!! At the rate they’re going i doubt they’ll ever run out of fresh ideas!:) there is something about it that makes it truly special just like CHUCK!

    • revdr says:

      Yeah, but they’ve already set it up so that Penny and Leonard will not get married until at least the end of the ninth season. Lot’s of story possibilities though……

    • uplink2 says:

      You do realize that Sheldon is going to come back after his journey of self-discovery having had an accident and the entire 7 seasons of memories and character growth are going to be thrown out with yesterday’s dishwater don’t you? 😉

    • revdr says:

      Are we talking a Dallas moment here?, or a memory suppression due to an attempt to disprove string theory so that he could move on to a new field of study?

    • revdr says:

      Just kidding Josh!!! Although, they do have 3 yeas of stories to tell…………

      • I figured you were kidding, besides the staff at Big Bang is much smarter than the staff at CHUCK was…or maybe the latter was simply too young, I don’t think it likely they’ll screw up because well, if your 7th season finale is your most watched in the coveted 18-49 demo obviously they know what the hell they’re doing! This actually proves to me that JS may not be a long term project kind of person, I mean S3 of Chuck was clearly written to shorten the shows life span, I can’t believe that he didn’t know how terrible it was unless he was trying to kill the show

      • duckman says:

        Funny you should mention trying to kill the show, Josh. I’ve gotten the feeling myself that they were ready to be done with it after s2, the “to be continued” ending is exactly the kind of thing I would expect from them. In the extras they did a little vid joking about being called back at the last hour, I think that has more truth than mirth. I get the feeling they out of ideas and had other things to do. I can’t imagine deliberatly tanking a network series, but I don’t think they were giddy with excitement either. Between s3 and 4 my buddy mentioned he thought nbc was trying to kill the show, and I agreed. I still blame the non-commital squeduling as contributing to low numbers in s2 when the show was so good.

    • revdr says:

      Josh, I won’t say that the BBT writers are smarter that Chuck’s writing staff; and although I don’t discount experience (the show’s creators-Lorre and Prady have over 50 years writing/running shows between them), the Chuck writers had quite a bit of experience themselves. In fact, the only one inexperienced was Chuck’s co-creator, CF. I think that it boiled down to two basics things, the show’s genre, and the overall plot/story choices. The fact that Chuck was a multi-genre show I’m sure made it more difficult to balance out all of the story elements week after week. But as I’ve said before, a poor story choice is a poor story choice, and there is never a good excuse for poor story telling, even though you cant expect emmy-winning writing every week, you do at least hope for consistency if nothing else. Even Aaron Sorkin wasn’t perfect….

      • uplink2 says:

        Well we have had this discussion before but the big difference between Fedak and Lorre can be seen in these comments. I’m paraphrasing a bit because of an incomplete memory.

        Chuck Lorre:
        “You are in danger of losing your audience every week.”

        Chris Fedak:
        “Who closes the book after chapter seven? That’s the thing. ”

        I think those quotes say it all.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Far be it for me to defend Fedak, but I’ve seen him slated a lot for that quote – and I don’t think it’s fair. Both quotes represent the two sides of the line which writers have to walk – the weekly contract versus the longer view. Both comments represent a truth.
        If you’re writing a serialised story you have to assume that the bulk of your fanbase is prepared to take a longer view and not just bolt every time you send a story in a direction they might not like. Otherwise you’d be too scared to write any obstacle or any conflict – anything that the characters and the audience might have to work for. You may as well just write a procedural where you repeat the same show each week, with a few wrinkles, and nothing really changes.
        Now of course viewers have to be entertained weekly. And the art of storytelling is in getting that mix right while understanding that some elements of your fanbase have more patience than others. And if you’re going to write a “controversial” storyline then you’d better make the motivations convincing and the payoff worthwhile. I absolutely agree that Fedak did a poor job with motivations and payoffs and he misread his fanbase at various points. But to criticise him for the statement itself – which is, in large part, a statement of the obvious, is hugely unfair IMO.

      • atcDave says:

        Except that many viewers did close the book at season three. And I have quit many books or shows before, during or after “chapter seven”.

        The problem is, regardless of what truth it may hold, the comment was exactly the wrong thing to say to a disaffected audience. Like joking about the ailment that killed someone at their funeral.

      • uplink2 says:

        Kev, I agree there are elements of both viewpoints that color how we, or at least I see those statements and the context you are in. I think Lorre’s statement is important even in the long range view of an serialized storyline that Fedak was talking about. It isn’t just about whether its a storyline that I don’t like it’s also about how well you tell it. In the case of season 3 it was a mix of a story I didn’t like, told poorly, and I found it largely un-entertaining. So yes they were very very close to losing me after chapter 8 of that season.
        I want writers to take chances and yes even tell stories I won’t necessarily like with conflict and pain. I’ve said many times redemption stories are some of my favorites. But if they do choose to tell a darker more unpopular and painful story, I demand they tell it well. In many ways telling an unpopular story mandates you tell it better than you have told the popular ones. In the case here he made huge missteps on all three fronts and yes many many viewers did in fact put his book down long before it was finished. Hell in the end even Fedak didn’t finish his story.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s the part that kills me. After berating us to not put the book down early, he couldn’t be troubled to finish writing it!

      • BigKev67 says:

        Dave,
        Haha! Now that’s a riposte I can’t argue with. Spot on.

      • oldresorter says:

        Dave – did you just think of that one? Might be the most brutal slam in the show’s history, and that’s saying something!

      • uplink2 says:

        Hey I said it first lol.

      • atcDave says:

        I just paraphrased Uplink, give him the credit!

    • revdr says:

      Yeah; thanks uplink….I certainly couldn’t have said it better myself. Those 2 quotes say a great deal about the difference in their mindsets….and there is a reason he’s been unable to sell a pilot since Chuck.

    • revdr says:

      BigKev I agree that it’s wrong to beat up CF for that one statement alone, because it does misrepresent the bigger picture. But, in the grand scheme of things it does indicate a overall failure on his part to complete the storytelling process or his arrogant attitude in regards to embracing ambiguity or not emphasizing with those of us who didn’t think that his non-ending was cool. I absolutely understand the need to take the story in different and surprising directions in a serialized format, directions that sometimes may not be liked by every. But if, at the end of the day the story has no end, or payoff, then why go there in the first place? With CF that became the rule, rather than the exception. It becomes hard to trust someone who at least on the surface, has so little regard for his overall audience.

      • revdr says:

        empathizing….sorry

      • BigKev67 says:

        Rev,
        I agree with you 100% about not trusting someone if their body of work doesn’t give you enough off what you look for – either in terms of weekly entertainment or longer term payoffs. Truth be told, I’m very ambiguous about supporting Fedak’s future projects for precisely that reason. But that’s a failure in execution rather than philosophy. The criticism here is that the statement (philosophy) is somehow invalid or dismissive. I didn’t think it was either, both at the time and now. The execution? That’s a different argument altogether.

      • atcDave says:

        Kev the problem is the comment seemed dismissive of those who had serious concerns with the story in question. JS/CF had built a substantial amount of goodwill in the first two seasons. Then they spent it at an alarming rate. This comment, and others, made it look like they had little concern for viewers who were loosing confidence in their ability to tell a satisfying story.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Dave,
        Understood. I didn’t take it that way but I know a lot of people did. Given how volatile the fanbase was at that point I think some people were looking for something (an apology?) that he was never going to give. Similar to the finale actually. The only alternative was to say nothing and he probably would have been criticised for that too!

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah you certainly can get to a point where nothing you say really matters anyway. Theoretically the work itself always speaks loudest.
        But its a funny thing about a hoped for apology. I know its extremely unlikely to have ever happened, professional pride and all. But that is a truly tragic thing about modern expectations and norms. Because seriously, I think an apology for S3 would have restored more of my goodwill than any other thing they could have possibly done. Because fixing what was wrong with the story only says “its all better NOW”. But an apology could have shown an understanding of what went wrong with the storytelling itself, and given me confidence that they were unlikely to make another such mistake in the future. It could have made me far more likely to trust him with another show in the future. Apologies are beautiful things.
        Of course I would have been almost as happy with an apology internal to the story. That is, after Chuck and Sarah acted like complete monsters towards each other through much of the season; a heartfelt apology to each other always seemed tragically lacking. Mainly apologizing for giving up on each other, for a lack of confidence in each other, for doubting each other.

  26. I’m honestly just impressed with the shows quality…in my experience the 1st 4 seasons of a show are usually the best and it declines steadily after that, but this one seems to be getting steadily stronger with each year! Have you ever seen a show do that because I haven’t and I’ve watched tons of tv shows

    • revdr says:

      I think much of this is because BBT is a true ensemble comedy, and it was along about season 4 that the additions of Amy and Bernadette came along, and it made the show even better, and opened up so many more story possibilities. Jim Parsons may be the center piece, but Sheldon is still only one part, albeit a huge one, of the whole. They play well off each other, and you can still see that they love their jobs, and their characters.

    • uplink2 says:

      What’s also great is Sheldon was never originally intended to be such a critical character. It was after they saw what Parsons could do with the role that it expanded into what it is today, in many ways the central character. Too bad Fedak and Schwartz didn’t see that situation better with Yvonne and make her more co-lead than supporting character.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah uplink2, but they never would have done that with Sarah. You see how they subjugated the role, particularly in finales or end of arcs just to emphasize that the name of the show was Chuck. CF especially was far too protective of Chuck’s hero’s journey to elevate Sarah’s character to that level. He had a touch enough time of admitting that the romance was at the center of the show popularity, and he did everything he could to promote the bromance and anything else he could find avoid it until the realization finally set in.

      • atcDave says:

        Many shows handle that sort of unexpected, breakthrough character well. Even The Simpsons, Bart was originally considered the main character. Now its clearly been Homer for 20 years.
        At least CF DID expand Sarah’s role in S4. Even if we all feel he should have done more, sooner.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah Dave; but I think that several things factor into that process, and it can hurt or help the popularity, and some cases the quality of the show. An ensemble show can easily shift the emphasis from one character to another, without getting away from the show’s original premise. The Simpson’s was easy, because of the show’s name. Case in point was Good Times back in the 70’s when to focal point of show became J.J. and the the quality of the show shifted downward from a family/message comedy to a 1 joke/1 note show. Plus it has a lot to do with how willing the creator is to upgrade a supporting character to make the show better and change the show’s dynamic. Best example would be The Fonz…that character upgrade (and change to a 3 camera/studio audience format) not only saved Happy Days, but made it better all around. I just cant see CF giving in to changing to a Chuck and Sarah show (just re-watched Role Models today).

  27. Ernie Davis says:

    Lately I’ve taken a break from reading and commenting on many of the discussions here. I was especially reluctant to wade into a season 3 overview because I suspected I knew precisely where it would go. I now wade in reluctantly because this board has once gain gone too far.

    When we cease to discuss the show and launch in to a discussion of the character, motives, frailties, and failures of TPTB we alienate a large part of the fan base. I often see the alienation of one portion of the fan base we judge to be about 30-40% on this site to justify the continued vilification of TPTB, yet rarely is the consideration that we alienate a much larger portion with our vilification of the show and the creator’s choices ever mentioned by anyone.

    We put ourselves in a very lonely and bitter portion of the Chuck community with these discussions, to the point where we risk isolating ourselves to all except those who choose to turn every discussion into a personal rant about their own disappointments.

    We know for a fact that members of the Chuck family have come here and read posts on this board. I have always hoped we could be critical when necessary without being mean-spirited, honest without being personal, and frank without being disrespectful, so I pray they never read the comments where all those considerations are abandoned on a regular basis as we collectively whip ourselves into a frenzy of self-righteous indignation at the great insult done to us by the vile show-runners.

    I don’t want to be a part of a site like that.

    • atcDave says:

      Ernie looking back over these comments I see a range of reactions here. Everything from gushing enthusiasm to harsh criticism. Some commenters may be mostly negative, others rarely are. A couple comments may push the limits of proper decorum, but I see nothing that looks like a pervasive problem.

      Now nobody jump in here and prove me wrong!

      Obviously we should all keep in mind that anyone, from our own loved ones to the show runners themselves, could conceivably pay us a visit here and conduct themselves accordingly.
      But I’m proud of this site and the discussion we have here. I wish IMDb was more like this.

  28. oldresorter says:

    I was going to post this in season 5 overview, but it’s so appropriate to any discussion about season 5 and also to the thinking behind the final two eps, that I urge everyone who has ?’s about the final arc or season 5 to listen. It’s full of analysis, and some reasonably hard biting ?’s considering the interviewers are very supportive of the show. The interview took place a month after the final (I think???). I listened real time then, but was still so stung by the amnesia choice and lukewarm ending, that I mostly fumed during the podcast. While searching for the Adler vid, I found this, and rewatched it.

    This is straight from the horses mouth analysis of the final, final season, and show in general, by the showrunner, with a little time to let some of the final discussion and issues sink into his mind too. I won’t dare summarize or say what I found as highlights, but the podcast makes me feel 1000% better (not fixed, but better) about the final scene, final arc, final season, and the show in general, especially the show’s and showrunner’s treatment of Sarah.

    I urge you all to listen, prior to making comments about season 5 overall, EVEN if you listened when it first aired or had some issues with it. It’s amazing how much perspective one gains after a few years!

    It helped me, I hope it helps some (at least one) of the rest of you. Thanks to Joe, Ernie, Dave and Think again, I’m amazed you’ve put up with all of us over the years. Been a wild ride to say the least!

  29. revdr says:

    Thanks OR; I actually just listened to this podcast again a few months back, around the time of the 2 year anniversary of the ending of the show. While it didn’t change my feelings on the finale or the direction that it took, it did provide some insight as to the perspective of the story teller. I have always respected their POV, I just don’t happen to agree with it.

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