Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Coup d’Etat (4.04)

NBC Synopsis: Chuck AND Sarah HAVE A COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN AS AWESOME IS REUNITED WITH SOMEONE FROM HIS BRIEF SPY PAST – ARMAND ASSANTE RETURNS AS GENERALISSIMO GOYA – TIA TEXADA AND MEKENNA MELVIN ALSO GUEST STAR – Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) work on becoming better communicators as they join Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) and Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) for a getaway to Costa Gravas. There, the gang is reunited with Generalissimo Goya (guest star Armand Assante) who finds himself in a dangerous situation once again. Back at home, Morgan (Joshua Gomez) embarks on a forbidden romance that may put him at odds with Colonel John Casey (Adam Baldwin).

Chuck This Ranking: 47
Dave’s Ranking: About 15 places higher

First Impressions: Observation Post: Chuck vs the Coup D-Etat

Full Write Up: Chuck vs the Coup d’Etat (4.04) by Dave and Joe

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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24 Responses to Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Coup d’Etat (4.04)

  1. Martin Traynor says:

    Sorry if this has been discussed before – heck, I may have even mentioned it before – but am I the only who thinks that Chuck would have been the perfect Sunday night program? Sunday has traditionally been the night for family fare, and Chuck is definitely family-friendly. And it would not have had to go up against football its run (even though now there IS Sunday night football…it’s on NBC), leaving that much-targeted demographic of the 18-35 yr. old male ripe for the picking…

    I wonder how much better the ratings might have been had NBC aired it Sundays at 8, or maybe even at 9 p.m.?

    I rank this one higher, as well. Armand Assante is fantastic as the Generalisimo, and I like Chuck and Sarah working together to defeat the commie baddies in Costa Gravas and the relationship demons that continue to plague them (this go around, it’s poor communication – ugh!).

    On a side note, just re-watched “Spies Like Us” for the umpteenth time. It really does get better with age, actually. Chase was hilarious! I miss the Chevy Chase of old…

    • atcDave says:

      As you mention, Sunday Night Football is on NBC so it couldn’t have been a Fall show then! Of course it also might have been a better fit on ABC or USA. I could easily see it as a lead in for Castle.

      I agree completely about what a strong episode this one is, just tons of fun.

    • DKD says:

      The third season premiere did air on Sunday. But, that was as a special.

  2. Martin Traynor says:

    It really does have that USA show feel to it. And/or ABC could have had a lot of fun with a playful rivalry of sorts with a Walker vs. Beckett thing…though that puts it back on Mondays.
    I just thought Sunday might have been a better home for it, especially early on in its run.

    You see it here and in several other episodes, but I’m just so amused with how impressed Devon is with Chuck’s abilities (also just watched the end of S4 today, where Chuck saves Morgan from the balcony). And Ellie too, but Devon really admires and is genuinely impressed by Chuck, and it shows so well. Coming from Captain Awesome himself, THAT’s saying something!

  3. Garnetflint says:

    I liked the fun the Generalissimo brought to the episode. He made a great guest star in both episodes. Over the top , sure, but it was fun, and after the portion of Season 3 of which we shall not speak, we needed all the fun we could get!

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I love the Generalissimo! Very fun character. I’ve mentioned before he was favorite character from S3, easily! And the best villain was the tiger…

  4. noblz says:

    This is one of the most entertaining episodes of S4. This did not make my top 10(29), but was really close, probably about atcDave’s rating.

    As stated above by others, I just love Armand Assante as the lecherous old Generalissimo Goya. The bond between him and Casey is great.
    The Sarah bikini show was entertaining and Sarah’s uncertainty about the whole relationship thing was adorable.

    For once something with Morgan was alright. For this I mean the Morgan-Big Mike interchanges were pretty funny.

    I vote Chuck smiled because he heard her.

    • atcDave says:

      Morgan was really well used in this one; Morgan and Big Mike discussing Casey’s daughter was one of the funniest “B” plots of the season.

      And I do love the way Sarah’s “issues” are handled in this episode. Especially when she gets so distracted Chuck is struggling to get her back on mission.

      • I agree, Dave. Morgan could get annoying at times, but I really liked the way his storyline played out in this episode. And when you have the chance at a good woman like Alex, what’s a limb or two, anyway?

      • atcDave says:

        And she smells nice…

        I love Morgan’s list!

  5. oldresorter says:

    Counting this ep – 4 good ones in a row. I’d have to ponder 4 straight where I enjoyed Chuck and Sarah more along with the plot of the night. I suppose sometime in season 2, but usually in season 2 had a cringeworthy moment or two was included in most eps. In these 4, most all of Chuck and Sarah was pure gold.

  6. oldresorter says:

    astr wives club wrapped things up in what felt like an appropriate manner for how the show had been done the previous 9 eps. Yvonne had a decent part and played it reasonably well, as did most the cast. The pacing and size of the show made it really hard to get into the specific stories very much, but the show felt like it characterized the 15 yr or so time frame pretty darned well, at least what I remember from it.

  7. Martin Traynor says:

    Forgive an ignorant question, and remember, this is coming from someone not-quite-old-enough to remember that time period, but was there really a neighborhood/community of astronauts, all living down and across the street from each other? i would think that place would be hounded by tourists all the time? Gated community? (but apparently the media got in when they wanted/needed to).

    • atcDave says:

      NASA was/is south of Houston (Sugarland maybe?) and the astronauts and associated staff all lived close together initially. I’m sure the VIP area was gated.
      I’ve visited the Space Center several times (excellent museum and visitors center). My parents have lived down there for over 30 years, and there’s areas my Mom, playing tour guide, has pointed out to me as “all NASA”.
      So yeah the area is well known to locals. I would imagine some of that was deliberately for security reasons. But also, no doubt, NASA always wanted to encourage (regulated) contact between the astronauts and the press. To at least present the appearance of accessibility.

      One thing that really impressed me was how well they recreated the “look” of the era. It looked like my childhood!
      The show also did a commendable job of showing both the good and bad of that era. Very interesting times.

      • Martin Traynor says:

        Thanks, Dave. I really enjoyed the show and admit I will miss it. I, too, thought the era was pretty well depicted.

        I just find it interesting that everyone was together, and it seems anyone interested in astronauts would be clamoring to visit, like Graceland?

        It would be a cool area to tour. “And on the left, that’s where Jim Lovell would mow his yard between trips to space…sharing a beer with Fred Haise…”

      • atcDave says:

        My suspicion is that many of those houses have been replaced. But the Space Center still has some original buildings and many things for tourists to do.
        Either way, it’s a great place to visit, just not in the summer….

  8. Martin Traynor says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m reading so much fan fiction that depicts Chuck and Sarah having married secretly in or around season 2…but the Sarah of canon is so (annoyingly so, many times) frustratingly scared when it comes to relationships. It’s funny, because she is portrayed as basically fearless is just about every other aspect of her life, but when it comes to a serious, meaningful relationship with someone she truly cares about (read, Chuck), she is a total mess.

    Now that I’ve seen the entire series and know what comes next, this waffling and waning doesn’t bother me as much (like her fear of change here, or the prenup we’ll see later on) as it could, but it does other me more because of how much greater the relationship could have been portrayed (and is portrayed in many FF stories).

    I guess the real challenge of writing a story is deciding which path (of many options available) to explore and committing to that. TPTB chose a certain course, and while not terrible (with some major exceptions, i.e., S03.1-11), it could have been so much more.

    In many cases, I’m leaning more and more toward fan fiction, but I’m a die-hard romantic, so the C/S relationship is THE hook for me…with the other relationships, action and comedy playing important roles as well…

    • atcDave says:

      I have some major problems with how wt/wt is written on television. But apart from the misery arc I’m mostly okay with the choices made for Chuck. I like the idea of the role reversal; both in terms of Sarah being the more “physical” character, and Chuck being more ready for a committed relationship. But no doubt, sometimes they dragged it all out to silly extremes (moving and unpacking as two separate issues!). Given that Chuck was a comedy I’m mostly willing to just laugh along at it all. But sometimes I feel more like I’m laughing AT the writers instead of with them. The fear of a committed relationship may be shown through Sarah, but I think it’s real source is in the writer’s room.

      And you know I agree entirely about the strength of fan fiction for this. I find the way it is often handled in fan fiction to be far more satisfying than canon.

  9. Martin Traynor says:

    I’ll admit to enjoying Sarah’s (many) relationship epiphanies; it may be the one saving grace of dragging out the relationship growth – that at least we get a lot of sweet moments. Even when it comes off as unnatural (like your example, where Sarah moves in, but then has problems, months later, of even unpacking), we get those wonderful moments of growth between her and Chuck.

    Many times, though, it does come off as so unnatural, like I said above. But perhaps it’s a small price to pay (at least for me) to get to those so very treasured moments between them.

    • atcDave says:

      Oh yeah, lot’s of good sweet moments I’m really happy we got see.
      I think they could have come up with plenty of good examples for a married couple, or even a married couple with kids just as easily. But we definitely saw some very nice scenes.

  10. Martin Traynor says:

    Agreed. I really wish TPTB would have had them (C/S) get married earlier, perhaps secretly. I tend to like the SO2 secret marriage I see in a lot of FF. It just seems like a natural point in their relationship. Lots of fun scenarios for a comedy/drama would/could easily ensue.

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