Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Leftovers (4.10)

NBC Synopsis: CHUCK FACES A HIGH-STAKES HOLIDAY WHEN UNEXPECTED GUESTS ARRIVE FOR A THANKSGIVING “LEFTOVERS” DINNER – MONET MAZUR, LINDA HAMILTON AND TIMOTHY DALTON GUEST STAR – It’s the day after Thanksgiving and Chuck (Zachary Levi) faces the most awkward of family reunions when mom (guest star Linda Hamilton) comes over for dinner—along with the dangerous Alexei Volkoff (guest star Timothy Dalton). Back at the Buy More, Morgan (Joshua Gomez) deals with the busiest shopping day of the year as Jeff (Scott Krinsky) and Lester (Vik Sahay) hatch their latest scheme.

Chuck This Ranking: 71
Dave’s Ranking: About the same

First Impressions: First Impressions: 4.10 Chuck vs The Leftovers by Joe, Dave, Ernie, Faith, Thinkling and Amy

Full Write Up: Chuck vs The Leftovers (4.10) by Dave, Joe and Thinkling

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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 Leftovers (4.10)

  1. oldresorter says:

    Can’t help but compare mid season 4 of Chuck to last night’s Castle ep in a more global kind of way, not ep for ep, but more post WT/WT concepts in both shows.

    Wrtiers sure struggle with answering the following new ? when doing a WT/WT show, the ? being, – TD/NW (They did, now what)? I wonder what are the best examples of shows that we all watch that got it right? I liked Castle’s handling of WT/WT better than Chuck, but Castle has been abysmal at TD/NW. Even with the horrid amnesia idea to end the show, Chuck handled s4 and s5 better than most shows, I mean, did / has any show done it better?

    So Leftovers is a completely idiotic episode, yet, it still is much better than most ideas most shows come up with. IMO this ep plays better for my eye over time, kind of like Role Models?

    • atcDave says:

      I certainly was pleased with how Chuck handled this period of the show.
      I’ve heard a little about last nights Castle but haven’t watched yet. Comments I’ve seen have me wondering if it was time to throw in the towel on this one?!

      • Martin Traynor says:

        I don’t know about throwing in the towel just yet, Dave, but it is not looking good in Castle land. The first 2 eps of this season have not been good, fun, or enjoyable as far as where the characters are going. Now I actually like what they’ve done with Alexis and the new Brit, but Beckett…I can say with only scant reluctance than I am about over the Kate Beckett character.

        As for this episode of Chuck, I enjoyed parts of it immensely. I really enjoyed Chuck and Sarah in Castle trying to out-think Volkoff; I enjoyed their holding hands on the elevator up, I enjoyed their silent communication during charades.

        I went back and read some comments from earlier posts about the one BIG problem I had with this episode, and that is near the end ($10 to whoever can guess where I’m going with this…!) where Volkoff threatens Sarah by pointing a gun at her, and Chuck just basically stands there.

        I’ve read a lot of the arguments for why that might have been, and why it might have been the smart move, and how it was almost exclusively done to allow Mother Mary the opportunity to step up and save the day, but upon first watching, I was very disappointed in Chuck. After re-watching it, however, I see that there really wasn;t that much time elapsed, and Chuck did have a look that showed he was processing and planning (at least to me), so with that one fatal flaw out of the way, i enjoyed it.

        Awesome was funny, Morgan was actually funny at the end when he couldn’t grab the gun that he supposedly taped to his own back!!! (though I really could do without him for 90% of his scenes in the entire series). And I liked the small resolution we got with mary saving them all in a way that didn’t betray her cover.

        And who doesn’t love a bad guy who can appreciate being schooled in front of the enemy and smile about it?

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah like most Chuck episodes there was plenty good, even if there were a few rough spots.
        I’m guessing you disliked the same thing that I did, the staging that made Mary the big hero while Chuck and Sarah stood by and did nothing. I can accept what they were trying to do, but performance wise it sort of fell flat.

        I’m still withholding judgement on Castle. I haven’t liked this season so far. But I have less invested than I ever did with Chuck. I run of bad episodes is mostly a shrug.
        Of course that also means if I dump it, it’s more of a shrug too.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Castle has not been fun thus far. I’ll give it another week before I tune out for a while. I do like what they’ve done with Alexis, and I liked Castles step-mom. It might be kind of fun if they all (Richard, Kate, and Alexis) got involved in the family spy plot. But the way they are off to a pretty dismal start — kind of like last season. Perhaps it had something to do with SK’s contract, and we can hope the ship gets back on even keel next week.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I was wondering if they had to convince Stana they would do something “different”. But I’m thinking ending it would have been better than this.

      • thinkling says:

        I just wondered if maybe her contract wasn’t finalized and they were leaving an “out” just in case. Because if they think this is a good way to start the season, they learned nothing from the wedding fiasco.

    • @oldresorter

      F A R S C A P E ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  2. Martin Traynor says:

    Likewise, Dave. I used to look forward to Castle each week, but that was several seasons ago. I can really almost take it or leave it now. And I was never as into it or any other show like I’ve been into Chuck (even though I came to it well after it ended, which I now consider a true blessing!!)

  3. Ernie Davis says:

    For the Castle fans discussing recent events, rumors of this have been swirling since June, first teased by Ausiello here.

    If you’re interested the writers/show runners defend their decision here and here.

    Also Stana Katic on her decision to come back for season 8.

    I’ve felt that the show has been showing it’s age and getting a bit tired, so I don’t object to them shaking things up a bit. But I think it’s time to end this one soon and let Nathan and Stana move on to new projects.

    • atcDave says:

      End it or continue I don’t care, but that was enough information for me to delete the series. I’m done.

      • oldresorter says:

        Dave there is quite a bit of info out there (the showrunners seem as panicked as any ever have been). They claim the next 5 eps are going to be fun and not angsty, mostly standalone Castle and Beckett cases. The title of 8×7 is Mr and Mrs Castle. As I started this with, showrunners simply view a couple taking on the spy / crime world together as uninteresting, so when they ramp up these WT/WT relationships, they box themselves in with no place to go back backwards, since they seem to not view forwards as an option.

        The show that will be interesting is ARROW to me this coming season, as they have really boxed themselves in, and seem to have no problem with doing really angsty things. I’m at a don’t care about most all of these couples, to the point, if I watched Chuck now for the first time, I probably wouldn’t have cared real much either. Chuck was one of the first tv shows I watched closely and got invested in, at some point I realized every tv show like these are more or less the same. I originally asked, has anyone done the WT/WT twist into the TD/NW tango better than Chuck? IMO Chuck might have done it best???

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah no doubt I will always appreciate Chuck for how those last two seasons were handled. It really stands out as something unique and special.
        It continues to frustrate me how unimaginative writers are about crafting a story I would find more satisfying. But I think a big part of it is too many writers are convinced they have to constantly reinvent. They miss the idea that viewers have tuned in, and stuck with a show BECAUSE THEY LIKED IT. This shouldn’t be that hard to figure out. Obviously if the story is exhausted (and I refer to things like a heavily serialized story that looses plausibility if it is stretched beyond a certain point. A procedural mystery show fundamentally cannot exhaust itself in that way) or if the principals are ready to move on it may be time to wrap it up. But that should be done in a way that honors the show, characters and AUDIENCE. I think it is always (and I mean that like ALWAYS) foolish and disrespectful to change an ongoing show in a way that will alienate the long time viewers. The show exists to serve those viewers. Changing a show to something that long time viewers won’t enjoy is an utter professional betrayal.
        If you want to do something different, do a different show and find a new audience.

        I have so little respect for professional writers anymore it’s not even funny.

      • oldresorter says:

        Dave its funny, I might respond the problem is the showrunners DON’T want to change. They view their niche as the angsty will they won’t they, and they are afraid to write the show with the lead pair coupled up.

        I’m also starting to think shows should only go about 6 seasons, 2 with the wt/wt,2 more with the paired up but not married, then 2 more married and looking to the future with what’s next, which probably isn’t the type of people or jobs they had in season 1.

        The couple should walk away from it all at the end be it the FBI, the CIA, the NYC police dept, the Smithsonian, yadayadayada and move to the next phase of their lives as normal people. I think such a setting would allow for cancellations, because fans would still get the relationship paid off in all but the first season, and if the show can’t get past that, maybe it shouldn’t.

        And maybe if the showrunner gives a fantastic hook about what ‘normal’ life might be, season 7 might even occur. But that show would be completely different that the original. So IMO it isn’t about changing the show, its more about being afraid to change the show. Does that make any sense?

      • atcDave says:

        That makes sense, and I do agree that wt/wt is a much loved trope among screenwriters. Certainly anther sort of failing we often see is THAT being carried out far too long.

        And I know I’m sort of trying to have it both ways here; but this is another problem I have is story lines being carried out past their natural resolution. As a small issue it can be the villain who makes one too many return visits, the conspiracy that never ends, really any story that seems to just reveal one layer after another with no meaningful resolution ever occurring. But wt/wt drawn out too long is uniquely bad, much worse than those other failings, because it can harm/undermine those main characters in a way other run-on story lines do not.
        Obviously I think this happened with S3 of Chuck, and I’m sure you well know how angry and frustrated I was with decisions made there; BUT, on Chuck they did actually, finally move on.

        So in a way I can criticize Castle on both counts. They shook things up too much by changing the mood of the show. They’ve turned it into the sort of dark angst thing I don’t actually care for.
        But they’ve specifically done it by recycling that most hated of tropes, wt/wt. long after its sell by date. Returning to it now only makes Beckett look like a complete loser and idiot.

        Really a darn shame. But it just completely destroys a show and a romance I had previously enjoyed being a part of.

      • Justin says:

        Yeah, atcDave, it hurts me to see the direction Castle is taking after doing so good for a while for the most part since hooking up Castle and Beckett finally at the end of Season 4. Parks and Recreation is proof that you don’t have to shake up a couple that way to keep the characters or the show interesting.

      • atcDave says:

        It’s funny how Castle really was my favorite show since Chuck. So now of course the disappointment is the greatest since S3 of Chuck.

      • Personally, I don’t like the direction of the show, but I thought the episode was great until the last two scenes. The second to last one was the “distance” moment, complete with spy (step) mother-in-law. The last one was unnecessary because leaving Castle won’t keep him safe, and knowing him won’t work. If it’s resolved in a few episodes with no PLIs, it’ll be fine.

        On the flip side, here’s a take that explains those last two scenes:

        She also has a great FFnet tag:
        https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11534571/1/Written-In-Our-Scars

        Just don’t read her tumblr follow-up to that story.

      • atcDave says:

        That is all interesting and well conceived… And not how I’m going to spend an evening of television…

        Unfortunately for Castle, I don’t have the investment to stick it out.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      That’s too bad. I’ll keep watching, I’m not invested enough to get too upset over any development, and thought their handling of the relationship was problematic at times. Also some of their “Big Twists” have had a negative impact on the show’s enjoyability lately as they try for bigger and bigger shock or surprise.

      • atcDave says:

        That “bigger, bigger” thing is exactly what I object to. I enjoyed the show for what it was. Changing it can only be bad. And I’m not invested enough to sit through an arc I dislike so much. I may get back to it later if the “experiment” ends before the end of the season. But there’s enough other stuff I’m watching I don’t “need” it.

    • Martin Traynor says:

      Thanks for the links, Ernie. Sounds very similar to Chuck S3 and the last two episodes of S5. Seems we were told then to just give it time, it will all pay off. It did pay, but pay off? NOT. I guess you could say it was worth it to get Chuck and Sarah together – if that was the only way they wee going to get them together – and at least Chuck’s writers were smart enough to not mess with them once they were together (until that painful, but I’ll concede hope-filled, ending).

      But I still get angry at the way the first half of S3 played out. Hard to say it was worth it, but again, if that was the only way they were going to bring those characters together…

      I’ve spent years watching these characters on both show develop a relationship and fall in love. I don’t WANT to see one of them HAVE to win the other one over…AGAIN!

      I’ll give them a few more episodes, but Castle no longer sounds like a show I’ll want to watch.

    • DKD says:

      I stopped watching Castle the season after they put them together. I can’t say it was exactly that event which did it. I had been a casual viewer–not watching every episode–for years. It was the kind of show I could watch at the end of a day, turn my brain off, and enjoy some cute banter and flirting. I never really cared if they got together or not.

      But, I found myself letting it delete off the DVR when it got full and eventually realized I hadn’t watched it all season. Then I just stopped setting it up to record. Too much good TV and not enough time.

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