31 December, 2011

Chuck Vs. the Baby: 5.08 - All This is But a Dream


I am going to pretend that Chuck Versus the Baby was Sarah's dream episode. Meaning that Sarah was dreaming, because that will better explain the continuity and logic problems it created. Granted, if you are a shipper, you got your dream episode! Full of emotional payoffs and dream scenes.

Here's my question: how do you go through the brainstorming process in the writers room; the script writing process; the review of the script process; the several meetings leading up to the shooting of the script; the shooting of the episode, and the multiple edits of the episode, without recognizing fundamental problems with what was written?

CHUCK is a show where I can ignore the plot. But I can't let it go when the writers ignore the things that built-up or stripped-down our characters. Even if it is stupid, it has to be explained if you decide to bring up a parent we've never met before. It's like Writing 101.

THINGS WE DISCOVERED IN THIS EPISODE
1. Sarah had a handler even though she already had a partner (Bryce, remember him writers?) who she was apparently having super sexy time with all over the world. Then, at the end of the flashback mission, she demanded to no longer have a handler and her boss was fine with that, then told her that her next assignment was to become the handler for a new asset. That asset? Chuck. Problem? The CIA wouldn't know Chuck was going to be an asset until Sarah found out he had the Intersect for at least one day. Oops. Oops. And oops.

2. Sarah's mom is a wonderful person who seems totally cool and balanced and the kind of person who you don't hide from at your grandmother's house while your dad goes away to rob people blind. And if she isn't a totally capable mother, why did you leave your kidnapped "sister" with her, Sarah? Oh wait, Sam? Why does your mother call you Sarah anyway? Did she get the memo from season 3 that you were done with Sam?

3. Sarah doesn't know that a 5-year old doesn't cry like a 5-month old. So now we know that she's an idiot too.

4. Sarah once used a baby as body armor. Or she thought putting the baby right in front of all the bullets that would fly toward her at really high rates of speed was a good idea.

5. Sarah and Chuck can speak to each other through the thick glass of a European bus. Mind you, no one has ever been able to do this, try as they might.

6. We can stop drilling for oil and looking for new power sources. Sarah's hair can apparently power an active bug for upwards of 12-hours, if not more. That's fuckin' incredible!

7. Chuck and Sarah carve their names into their dream house like only a couple of sociopathic assholes would, you know, just to ruin it for anyone who might want to buy it.

8. Alex apparently knows all about the Intersect that was in Morgan's brain but is still being a dickshit about it. Typical Casey-spawn.

9. When the CIA cleared Carmichael Industries of all wrong-doing, they should have unfrozen their assets, meaning Chuck and Sarah should have a few dozen millions coming to them. That means they should be able to buy that crappy house that now has their names carved into it.

10. That baby Sarah kidnapped and then illegally gave to her mom is the heiress to BILLIONS. No one seems to care outside of the dude Sarah stabs in the back. Sounds like Sarah is going for the long con.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

79 out of 100

Unfortunately, the emotional payoffs don't outweigh the character arc elements that are lacking, or outright violated. This episode punts every rule of retconning. And it is too bad that it suffers the way it does because the Chuck and Sarah/Awesome and Ellie stuff is really good. And this episode could have been so much better if the Graham giving Sarah the mission scene is cut out entirely (how did not one editor or producer realize that it violated show canon?). And if there is even one dialogue sequence added in explaining why Sarah didn't live with her mom. Cut out the Graham/Sarah scene and add the mom explanation scene and the episode works better. Without it, it is an episode that lives on emotional pay-offs and a couple of good performances.


254 comments:

  1. Agreed with you on pretty much all counts, HGF. It had some nice beats but the sheer stupid of No-Bryce and Super-Sarah-Mom just weighed it down way too much. It's bad when you ignore important established canon for a character on one count. To do it on two?

    Tune in next week when we learn that Casey was a Beckman recruit from the age of seventeen and that he never had a fiancee!

    Awesome and Ellie's spy roleplay cracked me up, I admit.

    And yeah, the name carving made me go WTF, not "Aw how sweet". Sure, Sarah, you'll own the house and it may take years, and the realtor and any potential owners in the meantime will just totally fucking ignore that you vandalized it, because you INTEND you'll own it! Watch me now go to a car dealership and key my name into something without even a down payment because someday I'll own it and that makes it mine.

    I'll get over the shit that violates some logic, since it happens regularly on this show, particularly on the spy stuff. But that one goes against such simple fucking everyday common sense. Stacked on top of the other stupid, it just looks worse.

    I didn't hate the whole thing as much as "Business Trip" but the sheer dumbassery dragged the whole thing down for me to the point where it's seriously fighting that episode for worst of s5 for me.

    Cor

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  2. It kind of saddens me when we have such high-point emotional beats in an episode I find takes such little care where it is most important.

    When you decide to drop Sarah's mom in on us, and you KNOW you have only a handful of episodes left, you have to pay off 5-seasons of questions about why she let a conman ruin her childhood. It seems like a no-brainer.

    And all we learned in this episode is that the writers don't care, even this late in the game, if they stick to the SIMPLEST show canon. This isn't something complicated that would require them to piece together 20 episodes. It is one episode, two tops, that define Sarah's disposition around the time of the Chuck mission.

    And I know that shippers won't give two shits about it because they only care about the emotional pay-offs, but I want BOTH. Emotional payoffs without canon violation.

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  3. And I will say that I liked parts of this one more than Business Trip, but because I felt this one had more potential, it bothered me more.

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  4. In regards to problem #1, you can't even ascribe the "not all dialogue is on screen" rule and imagine that Bryce and his going rogue was discussed later in the briefing. Maybe it was, but the dialogue that was onscreen is the issue.

    All they had to do in this episode was make Ryker a new partner--after Bryce went rogue-- rather than her handler. Sarah's "loner" attitude could have been explained by her feeling of betrayal by Bryce. The handler thing was unnecessary. They shouldn't have brought up the "handling" thing in the briefing and just made it a new assignment. We would have gotten the significance that it was Chuck.

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  5. I'll agree with you there. "Business Trip" was just flat plotwise and terrible with characterization, and the implied "neurotic unfulfilled woman" trope bugged me. But this one could have been good if they'd bothered and I think that's why I'm so annoyed with it.

    It's pretty bad when I feel like they've had two series lows this season. Granted, they've more than balanced it with some amazing episodes, but like you pointed out, when you have a hard and fast "This is the end", wouldn't you want to make every one of those episodes good instead of being this careless? Phoning it in like that when this is one of the final statements we'll ever get on "Chuck" annoys me.

    Especially when it was points that any show fan regularly picked up on even while watching. It's not like we're complaining about a small timeline nitpick. This is major, major character stuff. If I know something like that so readily out of love of the show, the people getting paid to produce it who also claim to love the show damn well ought to be doubly careful.

    Also, this week in "prod the shippers with the promo": it's actually Alex's pregnancy test! No, it's Gertrude's! Ellie's!

    Cor

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  6. Yup. That would also be a simple fix. It is the "handler" language, both from Sarah and to Sarah that violates canon.

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  7. I am a shipper and I am not happy. Loved the ending with the family and lovedloved the Chuck and Sarah scenes at the house and Ellie and Devon in castle, but you are right HGF, the episode is a disappointment in almost every other way.

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  8. MediaSavant, good job there. That would have been a great, easy fix for the Bryce problem. Either that, or sure, you can keep him as a handler, but have it explained that she has a temporary handler again because she's being watched after Bryce went rogue. That makes her loner/resentment feelings very sensible.

    Cor

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  9. Were we watching the same episode, HGF? A 79 out of 100? How do you come up with these numbers? 5.08 is AT BEST a 49 out of 100. Matt Barber needs to stop his manic use of the camera. And who edited this piece of shit? What's with the quick cut editing? What's with the stupid fisheye point of view shots? And spinning the camera around? Matt's been working on this show for how long and he gets to direct and thinks to himself oh, let me shoot a show Chuck isn't? Even Zac didn't fuck around with the shots like this. Awful directing. Awful editing. Awful writing. Even the performances were shit.

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  10. Such language for a little pony. ;)

    I can't say much about the directing or editing. I wish I could. But for now, I am going to be hampered by my closeness to people on the show. This is just another reason why I will never run a fan site again. But I don't agree that the performances were shit. I'd ask which ones you thought were shit but I'm afraid you will tell me.

    I'll just say this about the directing and editing... it felt like it wasn't this show. And an established show shouldn't be your testing bed for your dreams of becoming the next Spielberg.

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  11. "an established show shouldn't be your testing bed for your dreams of becoming the next Spielberg."

    Brilliantly put. You said it better.

    I'd tell you which performances I thought were shit but knowing who you are friends with, I think you would delete my comment. ;=)

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  12. How do you know who I am friends with?

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  13. That "not all dialogue is on screen" rule, doesn´t always work for me. It could be applied to the situation with Sarah´s mom, but like in earlier episodes in which I felt scenes lacking, I know they can´t show everything and we have to assume some stuff happening off screen, but that doesn´t excuse the people involved from carefully picking what they put on screen.

    And I agree that ideally everything that is absolutely needed for the character´s actions and the character´s emotions has to be at least adressed on screen.

    And like you said for the Graham and Bryce ignoring stuff that doesn´t even apply, because what they showed on screen is the problem and needs to partly be ignored. My biggest gripe with that is that it was completely unecessary for the plot and the emotional payoff.

    I still enjoyed the episode a lot. Every member of Team Bartowski can be quite prone to act quite idiotic as a spy or a professional. And the money stuff hardly ever made sense. I wouldn´t mind them acting stupid so much, because I suspect real people do that a lot as well. It´s just problematic when that is hardly acknowledged and they are instead often called the best spies ever.

    Emotional payoff is more important to my enjoyment of an episode while watching it, because if they don´t do justice to the character´s emotions, I have a much harder time caring for them. And as the plot is never thought out that well or particularely suspenseful, I need to care about the characters to enjoy watching. That is much harder if their interactions don´t ring true.

    Unfortunately the lack of explanation for Sarah´s mother´s role in her upbringing stifled the interaction between the two a lot. That scene with Sarah asking her mother to provide that sheltered childhood for the baby, that she didn´t provide for her, was well played and the emotional delivery was moving, but when there is absolutely no explanation why her mother failed to give Sarah that childhood and if there is a reason Sarah should resent her for it, a lot of potential layers are denied to that scene, that could have made it completely outstanding.

    That´s sad. So I agree on wasted potential, but I still enjoyed the emotional payoff we did get a great deal.

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  14. The final scene with Chuck and Sarah alone in the empty house was a perfect setup for at least a makeout session. But what we got was wood carving. Oh well. It seems that the long married Devon and Ellie are the hot sexually adventurous couple on the show. Chuck and Sarah only have sex in the missionary position with the lights off :)) Shame really.

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  15. Nevermind. Just watch the episode again and I am sure you will find problems with some of the acting. The show is a dramedy not melodrama.

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  16. not. bryce's. baby... 69 out of 100 (ranking it near the "3-D" episode) you nailed the continuity errors.- and there were MANY. that's what did it really. i'd come to expect more from rafe and lauren's writing. the fact that they didn't make it an "adult" issue - chuck dealing with bryce/sarah's love child- was weak and opens up the inevitable vomit inducing chuck/sarah talking about having a baby bartowski instead of it being "already had one chuck, get used to it." Nice to see TONY TODD tho even if the flashback was "inaccurate" to say the least.
    i want to say again- not bryce's baby.
    i was truly excited by that concept and i don't care as much about the emotional pay off, as i do about the pay off of the characters over all journeys and maturation.
    going back and contradicting established facts just is unforgivable.
    a prime opportunity to mine the shows past while moving the story forward squandered.
    "Sounds like Sarah is going for the long con."
    Bingo
    ALSO- ellie and awesome being super hot together and chuck and sarah NOT.

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  17. If you are saying I am friends with Zac and/or Yvonne (I'm not, but I am friends with their friends) and that those are the performances you have a problem with, then I can't agree. And I guess you expect me to answer that way but I actually found both of them to be fairly good. Sure, maybe there was a scene or two of forced drama, but I didn't catch any melodrama, and no performance issues from our leads.

    In fact, I thought the performances in this episode were generally good.

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  18. kmars, perhaps I was a bit generous with the 79 out of 100. I thought about a lower score. Though, not for the reasons you listed. I am as disappointed in what wasn't delivered as what was violated.

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  19. Generally I think the main cast's performances are quite good. Zac, Adam, Yvonne, and Josh regularly manage to sell shit that comes across weird or even terrible when it's simply written on the page. My acting issues have been with some of the guest stars.

    Cor

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  20. @My Little Pony

    There were hardly any scenes, that were played strictly for comedy in this episode. And I don´t see how you can put that on acting choices, that you think more suited to melodrama than to a dramedy.

    I am sure, if you watch the episode with the intent to find problems with something, you will always succeed.

    @kmars
    I really don´t see how Sarah having given birth to Bryce´s baby prior to the pilot would have been a better fit for the character´s journeys and maturation. That would have felt even more glaring of a retcon, as there has been exactly zero indication of something that big being in Bryce and Sarah´s history, when those two characters interacted in the past.

    As to the problem with the child´s inheritance, the reasoning behind that was just not very good on any counts. It´s a strange notion that just anybody, who might take control of the child would be allowed to do so by being handed the kid´s vast fortune. Especially a person with no ties to the child and a foreign nationality. So that was already a pretty strange reason for Ryker to want that child.

    It´s even murkier with the child now essentially kidnapped and growing up under a false identity. She has been missing and possibly been assumed dead for years. I have no knowledge of the Hungarian legal system, but it would be a pretty strange one, if it works the way it has been established in this episode.

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  21. The singing scene was cringe worthy. Shitty acting by both of them.

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  22. In regards to her calling her daughter "Sarah", Sarah had that name since she was given it by the CIA. I suppose her mom could have accepted the new name and used it. But, it would have been cooler to have her call her Sam.

    But, the name thing also blaringly points out the backstory issue. We were led to believe that when Sarah's dad was arrested, she become some sort of "ward of the State" and that allowed Graham to take over her life. How could they do that if she had a capable mother?

    Yet another thing that doesn't make sense and will never be explained.

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  23. "How could they do that if she had a capable mother?"

    Because they apparently didn´t know her mother existed and I guess Sarah went along with that notion for whatever reasons.

    Graham talks about the name on her birth certificate in Cougars, though. It´s pretty strange that he seems to be aware of her name on that document, but somehow turned a blind eye to any information regarding her mother, that should have been on it.

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  24. "The singing scene was cringe worthy. Shitty acting by both of them."

    I disagree with that.

    Overall I very much liked the interaction between Sarah and her mother. There was definitely a mother/daughter chemistry there. The story would just have worked much better, if there had been a clear backstory between those two. As it was a clear baseline for their emotions toward each other was missing.

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  25. "Graham talks about the name on her birth certificate in Cougars, though. It´s pretty strange that he seems to be aware of her name on that document, but somehow turned a blind eye to any information regarding her mother, that should have been on it."

    Heh... it is funny how if they just didn't skip over the issue of why her mother didn't take care of her, they don't have this problem.

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  26. As I think back over the series, I think the original "backstory" in Seasons 1-3 was that Sarah's mom was deceased. That would explain why she lived with her dad and why she became a ward of the state.

    But, then, sometime in Season 4, Fedak decided she was alive, but had a "complicated" relationship. Was there any mention of a mother who was alive and well until Season 4's wedding planning?

    Now, as part of the "love letter to fans" movement, they decided to make the mother a loving mother, which creates the entire continuity problem because it provides no explanation for Sarah's upbringing. But, I doubt they care. It's like they were just checking off a promise to do a "Sarah backstory" episode.

    They also used it to explain the decision of Sarah to quit the spy life and, presumably, transition into someone trying to start a family, as the preview hinted.

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  27. "The singing scene was cringe worthy. Shitty acting by both of them."

    Shitty acting? Nah. Cringe worthy? Maybe.

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  28. "But, I doubt they care. It's like they were just checking off a promise to do a "Sarah backstory" episode."

    YEP!

    And the usual apologists will chime in with "the show has always been light on story" etc because they want to bury their heads in the sand. There are times when the "light on story" argument works, because the story we are talking about isn't essential to the characters.

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  29. Your review is fucking hilarious! I read it three times it made me laugh so much.

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  30. I forgot the review was funny until you and a couple of people on Twitter mentioned it. I wrote it last night, then went to sleep, then woke up to both surprisingly happy news, and really sad news.

    So, I hadn't read what I wrote until just now.

    I'm a comedic genius.

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  31. "I'm a comedic genius."

    You are! Your review is better than the episode. Helluva lot funnier too. 100 out of 100!!!!

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  32. Regarding #5, I thought the same thing initially but then I realized that they were wearing mics and ear pieces.

    I was so excited in the final scene thinking that Matt Bomer was going to make a cameo like Yvette Brown....boy was I wrong. I generally don't catch the plot holes and continuity issues but this one was impossible to miss

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  33. Heh... thanks for the hype. :)

    If this article gets 1,000 more hits today, this site has its biggest month ever! And that's in a month where we had about 2-weeks of only new CHUCK.

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  34. "Regarding #5, I thought the same thing initially but then I realized that they were wearing mics and ear pieces. "

    That wasn't the intention. And the way they utilized the audio in that scene proves it. They muffled her dialogue, as if she was speaking through the window.

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  35. It is very disappointing that Sarah is wearing long pants so much lately and seems to have ditched her short skirts. For those who complain about her being over used as eye candy she has only been in underwear once and very briefly at that all this season.

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  36. "But, then, sometime in Season 4, Fedak decided she was alive, but had a "complicated" relationship. Was there any mention of a mother who was alive and well until Season 4's wedding planning?"

    No, there wasn´t. I also always thought of her as deceased. Would have been a much better fit.


    "There are times when the "light on story" argument works, because the story we are talking about isn't essential to the characters."

    I think that´s true for some of the points in your review, though.

    For me only the Graham scene/timing of the backstory and the lack of explanation of Sarah´s mother´s role in her upbringing are mistakes regarding parts of the story, that are essential to the characters, namely to Sarah´s character.

    But I think if there is something in an episode, that tips you (the general you) over a certain point, you are much more prone to be annoyed by every problem in it. And if somethings in the episode are outstanding enough a lot of issues can be handwaved away and not detract from the enjoyment of the episode.

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  37. When it comes to the whole Bryce/Ryker issue, I assumed Sarah and Bryce had broken up shortly before the point we're seeing. No, it doesn't make sense for her to have Ryker as a handler, but if you rewatch that scene in the pilot where she's staring at the photos of Larkin after his supposed death, you can also justify that she's sad things ended poorly between them. As far as Sarah's mother calling her by that name, I didnt have a problem with it, and I'll tell you why. Gary Cole's character has called her Sarah as well. Please though, tell me if I'm wrong... Did Cole ever ask about the name in "Versus the Delorean"? If he did, I'll gladly admit I was wrong.

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  38. "Gary Cole's character has called her Sarah as well"

    Because he's been spending time with her as Sarah. Plus, he's a fuckin' grifter. He will call her by whatever name she is using. He just thinks she is on a con.

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  39. Sarah became "Sarah" at the end of Cougars when she was 17 or 18 and met Graham for the first time. She could have just told her mom that was the name she went by now.

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  40. "Plus, he's a fuckin' grifter. He will call her by whatever name she is using. He just thinks she is on a con."

    Maybe Sarah´s mother is also a con person. Just a much better one than her dad and thus has never been caught.

    She wishes Sarah could have had that normal childhood, but with two con people as parents, that just wasn´t to be. And she didn´t raise Sarah, because she didn´t want to weigh her down, like she did her father.

    Of course she eagerly took in that stranger´s baby, as it is worth billions. And the CIA didn´t know about her or find her on the birth certificate, because she really is outstanding at what she does.

    That´s also why she left Sarah´s dad. He just wasn´t a good enough con man.

    I think that could actually have been good, if they played it that way.

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  41. "Maybe Sarah´s mother is also a con person. Just a much better one than her dad and thus has never been caught."

    Thanks for the fan fic.

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  42. "Sarah became "Sarah" at the end of Cougars when she was 17 or 18 and met Graham for the first time. She could have just told her mom that was the name she went by now."

    And she also could have told her mom her name was Yogurt the Wise. Why would her mom call her by any name not her birth name? To help her maintain cover when no one but her mom was listening? Season 3 established that her comfort level with "Sarah" was iffy.

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  43. Loved the review.. much better than the episode.. It had so much potential, but apparently the writers don't care about it making some sense.

    This is for me one of the worse and more disappointing episode in the series because the writers were just SO careless. Mask is a masterpiece compared to this. I mean it.

    S.

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  44. I don't think this one is in the same league as Mask. Mask falls into the Muuuurder category of bad episodes.

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  45. "Gary Cole's character has called her Sarah as well"

    Did he? I can't speak for DeLorean, but I once checked what he was calling her in "Wedding Planner" and he always used endearments like "kid" or "darlin'". He never addressed her as Sarah.

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  46. Ninja #1 and I made up... I forgive him for saying this episode was good, but he did say he warned me that it would split the fandom in two. He was right on that front. "Dumb people liked it. Smart people had problems with it" (HIS WORDS NOT MINE!).

    Anyway, regarding the canon problem he said this:

    "I think the scene was shot differently. There was something in there about Bryce. It may have been cut out in editing."

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  47. Looks like the Adult 18-49 rating bounced back down. The Adults 50+ rating probably held vs. last week.

    Too bad they can't get any momentum going as we head into the final stretch even if this was such a disappointing episode.

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  48. "Did he? I can't speak for DeLorean, but I once checked what he was calling her in "Wedding Planner" and he always used endearments like "kid" or "darlin'". He never addressed her as Sarah."

    I don´t remember him doing that either. I think he always called her angel or doll in DeLorean.

    "Thanks for the fan fic."

    The last one this year, I promise. It was a joke. Sarah would have been a horrible person, if she gave away the baby to her mother to use for a con, instead of letting Ryker use it like that.

    Seriously there wasn´t any explanation for Sarah´s mother not raising her or how the baby can be used like a huge bank account by just anybody. Anything trying to explain either has to use made up stuff. Sarah using her "sister" for a long con also wasn´t in the episode.

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  49. From Chuck Versus the Delorean:

    Dad: This place, your job, your name? Sarah Walker. That schnook from last night, Chippy.
    Sarah: Chuck.
    Dad: You're working an angle.

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  50. SO CLEARLY THIS IS THE FIRST FUCKIN' TIME HE HAS HEARD THIS FUCKIN' NAME!

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  51. I completely agree with your review. To me this episode was horrible and a complete let down. It should go down as the worst episode of all bad episodes. Sure there have been some bad ones in past seasons, but this takes 1st prize. I did enjoy the emotional scenes along with Ellie and Awseome roll playing, but even those moments could not save this one.

    I agree with others when they say the writers didn't care and wanted to check off a back story episode for Sarah. They either forgot the show cannon or don't care because they know we are at the end of the adventure.

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  52. Have the writers even mentioned mutual disappointment in how 'Mask' turned out, or have any ninjas said so? Personally, I think the writers feel they screwed up even more with the whole Sam ordeal in 308, and that is the ONLY reason why it wasn't addressed last night. In their world, 307 was the good episode, and 308 is the one they would like to forget.

    And...

    are we 100% sure Ladd's character and Molly won't be back in the finale? It feels like there's more to that story...

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  53. "Have the writers even mentioned mutual disappointment in how 'Mask' turned out, or have any ninjas said so?"

    I have heard from several people who worked on the show, and what those people have said others have said to them, about Mask. It is an embarrassment for them. But do the writers admit that? I don't know for certain but I bet they do. Still, it hasn't taught them any lessons.

    "are we 100% sure Ladd's character and Molly won't be back in the finale? It feels like there's more to that story..."

    Even if they return in the finale, there won't be any exposition about the past.

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  54. "He was right on that front. "Dumb people liked it. Smart people had problems with it" (HIS WORDS NOT MINE!)."

    Aww, he stroked your ego enough for you to undeadify him.

    I think people´s taste is rarely a good indicator of intelligence. And if we could only like stuff, we had no problems with, there would be very little entertainment content left for me to like.

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  55. I know Mask is not a great epi but I enjoy it very much, it's fun! But I never minded Sarah/Shaw or Chuck/Hanna. I actually liked how they spiced things up!

    Fake Name is a very good epi overall for me, it was poignant and funny. It didn't screw up any major show continuity or character development like Baby did.

    S.

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  56. Just got a bit of feedback from someone who said that the problems I had with the episode would probably have been washed away if not for some strange cuts made late in the game.

    So, it may come down to more of a producer's cut than what the writers created.

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  57. I feel as though LeJudkins needs to explain what in the hell they were thinking when they created this mess.
    Also, I find it odd that Zach or Yvonne didn't notice the major plot holes while acting through these scenes? With the exception of maybe they did and they dont get any say to change it?

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  58. Unfortunately, actors don't usually get listened to... though, Zac would. But he wasn't shooting any of those scenes.

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  59. I wish there would have been commentary on one of the DVDs are something at least touching on the reasons for the strange editing choices, they seem to be making according to your sources.

    But I guess we will never find out about those reasons.

    I didn´t mean to come off as super douchy with my ego stroking comment. Sorry if that was offending.

    I get that completely ignoring obvious problems is at the very least ignorant. But then again mindlessly proclaiming this the worst episode ever is not much better on this account, not that you did that.

    I just think it´s fine to enjoy something, despite seeing that there are big problems apparent. Just as I think you can not enjoy something while still conceding that it was very well done.

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  60. Good review. More Ellie and Awesome, please.

    Why would you cut something so significant to making the problems go away and keep the scene with Graham/Sarah then? The only people left watching the show are those invested in it. Most of those people know the show very well. Blatant disregard for the show's history is highly annoying.

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  61. Maybe I loved this episode because I expected continuity errors? I don't know... I guess I'm just used to it by now! And I'm no shipper. I hate that term. As a matter of fact, I miss the days where Chuck and Sarah weren't a couple sometimes... the relationship was more fun!

    I'm forgetting whether it was 4x20 or 4x21, but weren't there some sort of papers Sarah filled out before the wedding, and her legal name on them was now Sarah Walker? Yeah, at that point, I gave up on the whole Sam issue ever being addressed, and from that point forward, I knew not to expect any explanation, and only expected the writers to forget about that ordeal and never address that issue again.

    Nonetheless, I hated some of the fundamental issues that you brought up. The baby strapped to her as she shot off those guns, the speaking through the thick bus window, her falling for the same trick she pulled on Ryker with the tape recorder... those were hilariously bad moments!

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  62. "Sarah filled out before the wedding, and her legal name on them was now Sarah Walker"

    Because by then she had already made the choice to keep that as her proper name. But these flashbacks are from FIVE YEARS AGO.

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  63. Trust me HGF, I realize that! Still, like all the questions we have about last night, we were left to figure the legal name change out as well. Sure, that wasn't hard of course, but it was a clear sign that the writers had no intent on ever exploring the Sam issue again. I'm definitely not defending the writers who have screwed up the continuity when there were clear cut opportunities for stopping the establishment of continuity errors by adding a line or two to a scene. All I meant was that I expected these errors to be made. I don't disagree with your disappointment in the episode...

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  64. Can we assume that the cuts were made to the Graham scene at the end? I could see how additional dialogue could have improved that.

    I wonder if there were cuts to discussion of Sarah and her Mother's history.

    It's a shame that they left in all that stuff with Morgan and Alex because we could have done with less of that if it could have saved some of the rest of the episode. I really didn't care if those two got back together. After last week's nudge from Casey, it all could have happened off-screen.

    I really did like the stuff with Devon and Ellie roleplaying in Castle, though.

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  65. For me this episode didn't happen.

    The last episode that aired was the Santa Claus and after that it will be The Kept man.

    It's too bad a new Chuck didn't air this past Friday but i'm looking forward to one next week.

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  66. All I know is that one ninja says he remembers someone mentioning Bryce. The other bit of info comes from someone else who didn't want me to get specific. But it doesn't seem like everything would have been fixed. Just that I might not have as big a problem with it.

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  67. It wouldn't surprise me if there was dialogue that included Bryce's name that was cut.

    The question should be why was it cut.

    I agree that this episode had potential to be great with just a little bit of additional dialogue to provide established continuity.

    They provided continuity in one way with having Tony Todd there but dropped the ball and didn't try anywhere else.

    They also should have had Tim Dekay knock out Sarah some other way.

    Sarah hearing a baby cry and Tim Dekay using that to distract her was incredibly stupid.

    They might as well have not had Sarah's mother in the episode and have Sarah give the baby to someone else.

    Tim Dekay did a good job playing against type as a bad guy and the acting was good but otherwise a very poor episode.

    Next episode appears to be Casey centric and who wants to bet it will be better.

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  68. Ninja says I will love the next episode.

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  69. Vader's My Little Pony PillowDecember 31, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    508 is up there for me with the best of the worst. Better than Mask and Murder but not better than Beefcake. The big payoff to the episode is your review. I was so excited when I heard you didn't like it. You are at your humorist best when you don't like something. I hope you don't like next week's too.

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  70. Funnily enough, Vader's My Little Pony Pillow, we were JUST talking about you! Something about some My Little Pony bros something... you don't want to know the details. ;)

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  71. I don´t like the implication, that it is stupid to give a bigger importance to emotions than to logic and plotting.

    Because caring more about emotional beats than how well crafted the plot is, is very much associated with a female perspective.

    I am not talking about the ideal of both being done well, but about what contributes more to the enjoyment of an episode.

    I know that what you deem crazy shipperdom is mainly populated with males, but shipping is generally still more associated with females. And there are a lot of female shippers in this fandom as well.

    I don´t like that they took so little care when presenting their female lead´s backstory, but they at least very much focused on Sarah´s emotions. I certainly wouldn´t have liked it more, if they had instead made Sarah the mother of Bryce´s child, so that we could focus on the "adult" issue of Chuck dealing with Sarah and Bryce´s love child, like kmars suggested.

    Likewise my problem last week wasn´t as much with the lack of any shmoopy scene between Chuck and Sarah, as with the absence of a scene, that focused on the fallout of what happened to Sarah with Sarah in it. That could have been between Ellie and Sarah for all I care. They did treat Ellie and how Shaw affected her quite well, though.

    Additionally, I don´t really subscribe to the notion, that execution is key. I care at least as much about what story I am told than how well that story is told. I can admit and see if something is masterly crafted or not, but just because it is, doesn´t mean I care about it at all, if I didn´t like the content.

    Anyway I did want to add what my problem is what the anti-shipper notion and the implication, that someone is stupid for caring primarely about a romantic relationship. I am curious how your post concerning that will describe this.

    With this story being called Chuck and it being told mostly from his perspective, the only way there is any focus on the female characters is through their relationship with Chuck. Those Sarah centric episodes are rare and usually self-contained. I wish it had been done much better. I am still glad, they did it at all.

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  72. "And there are a lot of female shippers in this fandom as well."

    No man understand women better than I do. Which is why I have such a problem with this episode.

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  73. Vader's My Little Pony PillowDecember 31, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    I'm a Star Wars fan not a Pony freak, thank you very much.

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  74. I am totally bummed this season needs a longer life, stop at the season 5, it sucks ...
    Great actors, great series, what more?

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  75. LOL man I almost wish I hadn't read this review because you pointed out continuity problems that I didn't even notice while watching it. I definitely remember thinking, "Now wait, where would Bryce have been at this point in the story?" while watching it, but I clearly didn't answer my own question until you answered it for me with this review. And so ironic that they erased Bryce, of all people, from the show's history, given that Tim DeKay comes from White Collar. ;-)

    I liked this episode overall and I forgave the continuity and logic errors that I saw, but clearly there were some big ones that I missed. And it does remind me that the writers have been REALLY bad with this type of thing in the past couple seasons. It drives me insane because it makes the writers seem very careless about their own show. Even down to seemingly meaningless details like how the different ages that Chuck is during various flashback scenes rarely match up with each other, and are sometimes not even close to how old Sarah would be if she was HS class of '98 (Chuck vs. the Cougars). I know these things are relatively minor, but it still comes off as very careless to me, because if you can't even get the EASY details right, how can you get any of the more complex stuff right?? Though I know the reality is that the writers are just going crazy trying to complete their script in time and sometimes those details get lost in the process. But it still annoys me.

    Here are another couple logic problems I noticed, on top of Magnus's list:

    - On top of the question of how it could possibly be that no one knew Sarah's mom existed ... how the hell did Sarah's old handler dude find out her mom's ADDRESS from the convo that Chuck and Sarah had (that he heard via the bug)?? One minute Sarah says that her mom really is alive and has the baby, and the next, BOOM, the bad guys are AT her house. Did I miss something there?

    - I guess we are to believe that in this episode, Team B is NOT YET back in the CIA because they are still talking about whether they'll take General B's offer. But if they're not back in the CIA, how did they have access to Shaw's email account?? I suppose we are to assume that Chuck hacked it or something?

    Anyway I still enjoyed this episode for the Sarah/badass stuff, the mom stuff, and the funny stuff with the Awesomes, but Magnus I also agree with all the issues you had with it. And one part in the preview next week made me and my husband GROAN ... UGGH ... that preview makes me nervous for what's going to happen in these final 5 episodes, and whether it's awesome or totally lame. We shall see.

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  76. "Which is why I have such a problem with this episode."

    I am not denying those problems. And like I said, I am also disappointed that they took so little care to draft there female lead´s backstory.

    I do dislike the notion, that gaining more enjoyment from emotional beats than from a well crafted logical plotline, is somehow stupid and less viable. Especially because it is often associated with a female perspective.

    That also doesn´t negate that ideally both is done well.

    You did imply that the complaint about a lack of an emotional payoff last week is laughable, if compared against a more legitimate complaint about structure, plot or logic.

    I don´t like that implication.

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  77. Another Continuity error with the Tony Todd scene was in Nacho Sampler's final scene, it seemed as though Sarah had never seen a picture of Chuck as the phone call says he sending the picture of the Mark.

    Yet in this ep. She has a full dossier on Chuck. She would...I would of thought being an intelligence officer already have this information.

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  78. " On top of the question of how it could possibly be that no one knew Sarah's mom existed ... how the hell did Sarah's old handler dude find out her mom's ADDRESS from the convo that Chuck and Sarah had (that he heard via the bug)?? One minute Sarah says that her mom really is alive and has the baby, and the next, BOOM, the bad guys are AT her house. Did I miss something there?"

    LOL! I didn't even think about that. Holy shit... HOW THE FUCK DID HE KNOW if the CIA didn't know?!

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  79. "You did imply that the complaint about a lack of an emotional payoff last week is laughable"

    Because it was such a minor issue. It's not germane to the plot. Plus, we see them huddled up together on the couch in the Buy More post event. It's not like you got them waving at each other from afar doing the happy dance.

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  80. Given Tim DeKay was in the episode, it would have been kind if cool if rather than showing Sarah a picture of Chuck, Graham introduced her to her new partner Bryce.

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  81. Why did they spend so much valuable time on Morgan and Alex in Castle. Who gives a fuck about their lame relationship.

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  82. I agree with your review. I was excited about this episode and convinced it wasn't Sarah's baby. I was also looking forward to meet her mother, but there were so many inconsistencies that I only feel disappointed now.
    I just think they fucked up Sarah's character, giving her a loving mom that wanted the best for her. Then why the hell would she let her leave with her dad, knowing she was -or at least was going to be- miserable? I mean, the Sarah Walker we all know and love, the woman with trust issues, who feels she doesn't deserve all she has, the one who's been on the run her entire life -but has sucessfully overcome all those things now she has a family and friends- made sense with the backstory we alredy had. But now we know her mother is actually a decent human being -don't get me wrong, I like Jack, but he said it himself, he was a lousy father- nothing makes sense anymore.
    I'm thouroughly disappointed because Sarah's the most mysterious and complex character of the show, in my opinion, and there were a lot of things they could've done in this episode to reveal more about her past, but instead they chose to make her fire two guns near a baby (seriously, WTF?!) and make us all believe she doesn't know how a 5 year old sound when they cry. That only made her look stupid, and you can't afford stupid 5 episodes away from the series finale.
    At one point, I thought it was kind of disrespectful for both the character and the fans.
    I love the show, and I never questioned many obvious mistakes that have been made, but you would think they watch their own show from time to time.
    So yeah, Yvonne did an amazing job, as usual; the Awesomes were awesome -and hot!- again, and I'm glad Alex finally gave Morgan another chance. I especially loved his line when they were playing Life, it made me laugh out loud.
    If I had to rate this episode, I would give it 65/100.
    I'm looking forward to the next episode now, since I think Verbanski has been a great addition to the show. I'm not so excited about the pregnancy test, but we'll see how that turns out.
    Oh, and to all of you, happy New Year!

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  83. The Morgan and Alex thing being so prominent in this episode is just more evidence that the writers weren't taking this seriously. It was just a "let's do a shipper episode and get the shipper writers on it, make sure they are stoned out of their fuckin' minds."

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  84. "Why did they spend so much valuable time on Morgan and Alex in Castle. Who gives a fuck about their lame relationship."

    -----

    Because they hate us. Makes me yearn for the days of Hurley and Libby episodes of Lost...

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  85. "HOW THE FUCK DID HE KNOW if the CIA didn't know?!"

    Maybe he didn´t willingly ignore information, that could be accessed like Sarah´s birth certificate.

    I mean it´s not a great surprise, that there must have been a woman who gave birth to Sarah at some point. They made it sound as if the CIA could never suspect that she a mother of hers had existed at some time. That´s not a secret.

    "Because it was such a minor issue. It's not germane to the plot. Plus, we see them huddled up together on the couch in the Buy More post event."

    When I talked about wanting an emotional payoff, I wasn´t referring to any romantic stuff. I wanted a scene, that dealt with what had happened to Sarah and what kind of effect that had on her.

    It wouldn´t have had to be a Chuck/Sarah scene. Could have worked with any character interacting with Sarah in a more emotional matter.

    That wasn´t minor to me, because, if I don´t get to see the characters care or be affected by what happens to them, I have a hard time caring.

    And apart from giving no basis for any emotional setup between Sarah and her mother, this episode delivered on that front.

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  86. That's right.

    When Sarah is bugged she says the child is with her mother but she doesn't mention where her mother lives.

    Next thing you know the bad guys are at her mothers house.

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  87. "When I talked about wanting an emotional payoff, I wasn´t referring to any romantic stuff. I wanted a scene, that dealt with what had happened to Sarah and what kind of effect that had on her."

    But that would have changed the tone of the ending. That's why it is not in there. Because they were going for a happy ending. Why the fuck are we back to talking about this?

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  88. Although I agree with most of your points, I do think you're being a little negative about it, even when it's not always fair. Because for most of your points there's a 'logical' explanation for some things, #5 they were still wearing bugs. yes, i agree, they muffled it, but maybe the connection failed a bit through the window. #1 Yes, don't know what they did with Bryce, but i do get why Graham would agree with Sarah, I mean it's important that you trust your handler, after what he did to her, she didn't trust him anymore, so they couldn't work together. #10 Don't they just want that momey to be for the kid. But wanna save it for her, so she can have a normal childhood, and after that want her to have the money.
    But that are just guesses. And i kind of feel sorry that we seem to know the whole Chuck-history better than the producers..
    Though, I did like the episode.

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  89. You are now arguing points I wasn't even making. There is no logical explanation for how Sarah was assigned as a handler for an asset they didn't even know they had yet.

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  90. true, overall the producers were very, very sloppy.. especially when they even implied Sarah was stupid, i mean, have you ever seen a 5-year old, that cries + has the same size as a 5-months old? I haven't... And the Bryce-thing, well, that's just really stupid.

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  91. Why do people hate on "Beefcake" so much? I liked it.

    Mind you, I wasn't part of online fandom back in those days.

    Awelle said:
    "I do dislike the notion, that gaining more enjoyment from emotional beats than from a well crafted logical plotline, is somehow stupid and less viable. Especially because it is often associated with a female perspective."

    Did anyone say anything like this? I think I missed that. I think most of us did enjoy the "emotional beats" part of the episode, but I think that the logic problems overwhelmed our enjoyment. Sometimes you just can't ignore things. The family dinner stuff was really nice. The kid was cute and its always nice to see Chuck interacting with a kid. But, a few nice scenes do not an entire episode make, particularly when that episode is supposed to be providing long-awaited backstory and canon.

    Also, are you saying that women tended to be the ones who liked this episode, while men didn't? I haven't gone around the boards since the episode ran, but I kinda doubt there was a gender skew to like/dislike of the episode.

    While women are associated with liking more "touchy feely" stuff, they still can be critical about whether it's well-crafted. They don't totally ignore logic.

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  92. How about Bryce Bartowski head kid spy with Clara Woodcomb his niece partner. Alex and Morgans kids as backup. Maybe Casey and Gertrude have a spy kid ?. They all continue the family business working at the Buy More. Spinoff, Sequel, Movie ? Writing. This is why they lost viewers and NBC canceling the show. :-(

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  93. Agreed. I'm a woman and although i felt 'touched' still couldn't ignore the mistakes the producers made. Biggest mistake: Bryce?

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  94. (cousin) sorry not niece.

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  95. I enjoyed your review even though I didn't get as upset about this episode. Maybe I had low expectations going in. I certainly saw the issues you mentioned and it does upset me a little that the episode didn't serve Sarah as a character well. But again I'm used to them making something fit with the story they want. There is clearly a direction and place where they want Chuck and Sarah to be at the end of the series and I think at this point that's probably the only thing that is guiding their writing.

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  96. Sarah loved Bryce at one time. He protected Chuck at Stanford. They could honor him and his father by naming their son Bryce Steven Bartowski. Get that writers.!!! Did you even watch your show threw the years ? Not.... 9 more episodes will tell. Happy Ending ?????????

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  97. "The Morgan and Alex thing being so prominent in this episode is just more evidence that the writers weren't taking this seriously. It was just a "let's do a shipper episode and get the shipper writers on it, make sure they are stoned out of their fuckin' minds.""

    Haha, I love you!

    It seems lots of people are calling this the best ep ever... Can't agree with that at all.

    S.

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  98. The only way you think this is the best episode ever is if you have no filter for quality. Like if you are a child or easily impressed.

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  99. I even said it in the review, I can ignore a lot of stupid plot stuff on this show.

    But there are things I can't and won't ignore. And there is the matter of execution. As a few others have pointed out, there was something off in the way this episode was edited/paced and even shot. And it wasn't off in a good way.

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  100. The kitchen scene reminds me of the 1981 movie "Nighthawks" with Rutger Hauer going after Lindsay Wagner only to find Sylvester Stallone in a apron and wig washing dishes and a gun waiting to blow him away. Great ending to a movie.

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  101. When Sarah is receiving the mission from Graham you can see the device with the cracked screen that Bryce used to send Chuck the intersect.

    And the fight scene between Sarah and Ryker alone deserve giving this episode at least an 80.

    One of the best executed, choreographed, and intense fight scenes of the entire series.

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  102. Yes, we all saw the device. Who was complaining about the device?

    The fight scene between Sarah and Ryker was one of the most unintentionally funny scenes I have ever seen on this show. It was like keystone cops of fighting.

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  103. The only way to combat ludicrous hyperbole is with ludicrous hyperbole.

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  104. Maybe the important stuff was edited out and will be in the deleted scenes on the DVD. I hope I hope ?

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  105. The important stuff wasn't deleted. Plus, so what? The only thing that matters is what makes it into the episode.

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  106. " the fight scene between Sarah and Ryker alone deserve giving this episode at least an 80."

    Right. What was up with that wall they burst through like paper? It actually DID look like paper and not a real wall. I know it's not really a wall, but you should at least make it look real.

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  107. Watch that scene in slow motion. It is fuckin' hilarious. I watched it like 10 times because it made me laugh so much.

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  108. Were it an actual wall it would have had studs and Sarah and Ryker would have been hurting.

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  109. Well I thought the device was obviously planted there so we could visibly see it as well, but based on what you wrote in your first point I thought you might have missed it.

    "The CIA wouldn't know Chuck was going to be an asset until Sarah found out he had the Intersect for at least one day. Oops. Oops. And oops."

    Given that the device was there, he has clearly already had the Intersect for at least one day...

    And I don't know how you can find that fight scene funny, yet love fight scenes where they look like they are dancing rather than fighting.

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  110. Er, I'm a woman and I'm very disappointed with this episode. So obviously I'm not in touch with my touchy-feely female feelings.

    Oh God. Next I'm going to be worrying I don't have any normal female friends and that I'll never have a normal life!

    The Morgan/Alex thing did feel drawn out beyond its expiration date. He explained what happened, everyone's supported his version of why he was a douchebag, and Alex dragging her heels on it just felt artificial. Plotwise, I honestly feel like Casey's endorsement of giving Morgan a second chance last week was a good place to leave it. Casey's her father, he's had a lot of opportunity to judge Morgan's character in all kinds of situations, and she knows he doesn't give approval lightly, so it seems like his take on the matter would have counted for more with Alex than Ellie and Awesome's would.

    Cor

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  111. "Given that the device was there, he has clearly already had the Intersect for at least one day..."

    I am starting to see a pattern here. Chuck became an asset when they discovered he had the Intersect in his head. That's why he needed a HANDLER. Sarah couldn't have been sent there to be his handler since she was on a recovery mission, just like Casey.

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  112. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  113. Earlier during the game night scene I was assuming somehow that Alex didn't know about Morgan having the Intersect but then he brought it up at the end like she did so it seemed a little ridiculous that she wouldn't take him back if at some point he explained why he sent her the text.

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  114. What amazes me is that we have covered this a dozen times in this discussion so WHY DO I NEED TO EXPLAIN IT AGAIN?

    But apparently it needs to have numbers next to it:

    1. Bryce sends Chuck the Intersect.
    2. The NSA sends Casey to get it back.
    3. Sarah is sent to retrieve it, to clean up Bryce's mess.
    4. The NSA and CIA both think the Intersect data was just sent to Chuck. They don't think he has it in his head.
    5. When Casey and Sarah find out that Chuck has it in his head, they THEN are assigned to him.

    In other words, Sarah getting assigned to Chuck as a handler in the 5.08 flashback contradicts 1.01. And there is no way to explain it away because they MADE A MISTAKE.

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  115. If you rewatch the pilot, it's the morning after Chuck got the intersect and he's starting to get flashes. They cut to DC. It's still daytime and Graham, the original Beckman and Casey are discussing what happened to the Intersect. Casey pulls the damaged device out of his pocket. This is the first time Graham sees it. Casey explains they tracked the email to California and he's going there.

    Cut directly to the Buy More and Sarah is walking up to the Nerd Herd desk to meet Chuck for the first time.

    Based on this and on "Nacho Sampler", Sarah was already in LA and got the call from Graham to investigate the person the email was sent to. That's how she got to Chuck before Casey did. Casey had to fly from DC to LA. Sarah didn't.

    That's how it went down. Pilot scripts are scrutinized much more than any other type of script.

    There couldn't have been a night-time meeting in DC in which Sarah was assigned to go to be Chuck's "handler". Casey would have beaten Sarah to Chuck and not the other way around.

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  116. I don't consider the scene at the end to be canon.

    I'm still going to follow the old one.

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  117. Aha! Episode 101. I agree with MediaSavant. Sarah gets sent Chucks picture on her cellphone. Not shown his file in person in D.C. by Graham. Writers... Fail....

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  118. I loved the episode would probably put it into my top 10 of the series. The end did grate with me a bit aswell primarily as there was never any mention of Bryce in the episode one line by Tim about he chose her as she had been betrayed by her old partner would have explained why she had a handler at all.
    The other grype that you have about the meeting in Grahams office re Sarah going to LA but getting there before Casey does is not as incorect as you make out. This takes place after Graham meets Casey and sees gets Bryces transmission device. All Casey had said is that they picked up a signal from LA. Graham then would go back to the office goes through Bryces files finds out about Chuck his friend from Stanford and sends Sarah out to him. Casey does not have access to Bryces CIA file so would not know straight away that instantly put Sarah at an advantage. She has a definate target and she goes straight to LA that night (about 1hr 40mins flight time according to US air) and can go straight to the Buy more.
    I agree that she was not going there to be his handler but Graham could have just thought it was strange that Bryce and he were friends,and there history I mean it is strange that Bryce would send it to somone he got kicked out of school, we know that Chuck was in the intersect so there must have been some file about him in the CIA. It could have been an educated guess or as you say a mistake in the script.
    Regarding the nacho sampler ending, it is not Graham she is on the phone with so the person did not know she had the file and sent her the photo to her phone just in case. She was already in the Buy more so she obviously knew her target was and were he would be that is more information than she was given over the phone the phone was last minute stuff like bright but underachiever and lonely.

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  119. "There couldn't have been a night-time meeting in DC in which Sarah was assigned to go to be Chuck's "handler". Casey would have beaten Sarah to Chuck and not the other way around."

    And there we have it, the smoking gun of stupidity from the writers.

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  120. "The other grype that you have about the meeting in Grahams office re Sarah going to LA but getting there before Casey does is not as incorect as you make out."

    It is even more incorrect than I thought as MediaSavant has pointed out. Stop making up excuses just because you were easily impressed by this episode.

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  121. There could have been a meeting but she would not have been his 'handler' that is all I am saying the writer used the wrong word.
    You make out the whole scene is a mistake. If Graham had just told her to find Chuck as he was a person of interest the scene would have been fine.

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  122. Casey would not have beeten her to Chuck as he did not know about Chuck.

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  123. "Casey would not have beeten her to Chuck as he did not know about Chuck."

    Obviously he didn't know about Chuck because she got to him first. Had it gone the way 5.08 showed it, he WOULD have beat her to Chuck because she wouldn't have been around to find him first.

    Are you really this dense?

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  124. It doesn't matter if it was Graham on the phone or not. She got the assignment via phone while she was in LA. They told her where to go and then they downloaded his picture.

    We've got two episodes with that version of the story vs. one. And one of those episodes is the pilot for the whole show.

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  125. I don't think srb is able to comprehend it. Or willing.

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  126. I am blocking this episode from my memory permanently. It's like that one episode from season three when she gets with Shaw...nothing made any fucking sense. That time it was character continuity, this time its ACTUAL timeline continuity...I mean don't they have a fucking show bible? Was the writer's assistant out sick? Is Fedak huffing the fumes of HIS car?

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  127. It is weird that the writers had so much trouble with continuity when production managed to remember that Sarah used to drive a porche and had LONG ass hair in her 2005 red test.

    -Facefart

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  128. Yeah it's weird.

    From watching the episode it's like the writers remembered smaller details about the shows backstory but ignored the bigger things.

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  129. "Why do people hate on "Beefcake" so much? I liked it."

    I also really liked Beefcake. I don´t know why it is always used as an example of a bad episode.

    @Cor and @Mediasavant

    I am not saying, that women liked that episode more. I´d have no way of knowing that and that was not my point.

    I also don´t deny that there were two glaring errors. The Graham scene and it´s implied timing violated continuity and there was no explanation why Sarah´s mother didn´t raise her. No argument here.

    I also don´t deny that there were numerous other weak points in the plotting.

    But the emotional beats and the characters interaction were quite well done.

    So it is possible to very much enjoy the episode, despite seeing that those problems were there.

    It just depends how much those errors hampered your enjoyment and how important those emotional beats are to you.

    And I don´t think valuing those emotional beats enough to still enjoy the episode a lot, despite the errors, makes you stupid.

    Denying those problems were present is another story.

    And in theory I would like an episode, that had much fewer and less severe errors, but failed to deliver the important emotional beats or the emotional payoff for the characters less.

    I don´t mean to say, that every women has to enjoy emotional beats more, or that there are no men to whom they are more important. It´s a question of personal preference.

    But there is a tendency to declare everything, that is more commonly directed at or enjoyed by women as less valuable or somehow of lesser quality.

    I am also not denying, that a perfect episode would deliver both flawless emotional beats for every character involved and a plot devoid of any errors. So everything that needed to be explained would be and there would be nothing that clearly violates established continuity.

    There just very rarely are episodes like that. The closest would still be Colonel for me. So for most episodes it´s the balance between how much the bad elements bothered you and how much you enjoyed the good elements. People are going to weigh that differently.

    So that´s my first wall of text for this year. Happy New Year everybody whenever it reaches you. :)

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  130. "And I don´t think valuing those emotional beats enough to still enjoy the episode a lot, despite the errors, makes you stupid."

    I don't think that is what anyone was saying. My guy just said he thought it would split the base between those who like things stupid and people who like things smart... essentially. If all you care about is the emotional shit, then this episode RULED! And was ONE OF THE BEST EVER. If you actually give a shit about these characters and the foundation of the story, and the character arcs, then you might not be so easily fooled, I mean satisfied.

    But if you were satisfied by the emotional shit but see all the problems with the episode and don't proclaim it to be THE BEST FUCKIN' SHIT EVER SINCE FUCKIN' GOD LET THERE BE LIGHT, then whatever floats your boat. I don't think I, nor many other people, care about that. Whatever you dig, you dig. Just don't pretend it is genius (not that you did, but others did).

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  131. Are you going to do a podcast for this episode sometime next week?

    I enjoy the podcasts especially the one's where you have a lot of thoughts about the episode.

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  132. If I have time. Otherwise, I will just push it until the next episode. I got lots on my plate this week.

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  133. "Whatever you dig, you dig. Just don't pretend it is genius (not that you did, but others did)."

    Ok, I get that. And I wouldn´t declare it genius, because it certainly wasn´t. And that would just mean, I wouldn´t want anyone to try and deliver something better, which is certainly and easily possible. And I didn´t even like all the emotional beats, because Alex and Morgan felt forced to me as well. I might have mostly ignored them while watching. Loved Alex pointing Casey to Sarah´s scotch, though. And that Castle date night was saved by the hilarious stuff with Ellie and Awesome.

    Proclaiming it the worst shit ever, just seems not much better. And some did that. But I guess it´s truly splitting the fanbase, if you get both extremes.

    And while I enjoyed the episode a lot while watching it, I was also very disappointed by the missed opportunities. And the carelessness in putting it together. And I guess some people being easily impressed makes it easier for people to be that careless.

    The sad thing is, that I think this episode would work best for people, who don´t follow the show very closely. And hardly any of those seem to be left watching.

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  134. From an entertainment and emotional perspective I loved the episode. From a writing perspective I agree with your review. Sarah's my favorite character but honestly they've lost me. The whole "Sam" thing, the mother, it's clear as day they just had no idea where to go with it and it's a shame because there was so much potential. Oh well. I've been invested in this show and characters for 5 years, I'm just going to ignore those issues and fanwank...alot.

    Now for that promo. Glad to see Gertrude back. As for Chuck & Sarah? I actually do want them to end the series with Sarah pregnant (or at least a flashforward to them with a kid) because these two would make very pretty babies. But that said you can't get pregnant from cheek kisses, hair kisses, hugs and pecks. No way is she pregnant.

    I wonder if we'll ever see Molly (or her mom) again. It'll be weird if Sarah doesn't at least bring her up or continue to see her, she is her sister. Speaking of which, Molly/Mom don't need to go into hiding anymore righ? As in Sarah (and Chuck) can visit them now.

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  135. I actually think something will happen to Sarah's mom and Chuck and Sarah will end up being the ones to raise Molly.

    There was something about CS having a lost and since I can't see this show doing a miscarriage, I think CS will think Sarah's pregnant but it's a false alarm and later they'll get Molly.

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  136. "...and later they'll get Molly."

    If the show would treat certain things much more serious, that kid being called a package with somehow also being equal to a bank account while being handed to random people would be some dark dark stuff.

    It´s really some fucked up idea that illegally obtaining physical custody of a baby would give anyone access to said child´s inheritance.

    But I get that you aren´t talking about Chuck and Sarah getting Molly´s inheritance. And unlike Sarah she has been raised by Sarah´s mother now and is thinking of her as her mother.

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  137. And now to the Bartowski fortune. I mean inheritance. Sarah-"Molly come hear please I have a favor to ask you".

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  138. Unless Shaw breaks out of prison again and goes after Molly......

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  139. Sarah’s mom was portrayed as a loving and normal person. So can anyone explain why she did not raise Sarah herself. The episode provides no explanation for this question.

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  140. End of Nacho Sampler. Sarah on phone walking into the BuyMore: Do you think this kid's got the Intersect ? Agent: Right, agent Walker. He's connected to Bryce Larkin. Sarah: Weaknesses ? Agent: Bright, but an underachiever. Lonely. Had his heart broken recently. "I'm downloading his picture now. " Sarah looks at his picture . Smiles. "Piece of Cake" Ouch. doesn't match Graham showing her Chuck's picture in his office. Enough said. I guess if you're going to mess up a show might as wait until the last season to burn the fans.

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  141. This was definitely one of the show's more disappointing efforts, although I'm going to go for a slightly different angle here. As much as the continuity problems drive me crazy (as observed, the final Graham/Sarah scene makes no sense no matter how much one tries to resolve the timeline), what pisses me off about this episode is a bit more abstract. It's a lost opportunity in a dwindling set of episodes before the show ends once and for all. Worse yet, it's a lost opportunity for both an actress and a character who rarely gets the spotlight but it always a pleasure to watch when she does.

    Just about every Sarah-centric episode to date has been absolutely outstanding: Cougars, DeLorean, Phase Three, and Wedding Planner are all easy contenders for a top ten, or at most, top twenty best Chuck episodes (I'll grant that WP is more problematic than the first three, but it's still a lot of fun). Baby might have numbered among them but for the massive continuity problems and bizarre editorial decisions. Despite the episode's problems, it still manages to hit a lot of great emotional beats, and it could have done a wonderful job explaining why Sarah's relationship with her mother is so strained.

    And honestly, as a writer I'd have placed the larger portion of responsibility for that on Sarah, because it'd be entirely consistent with her characterization. Having walked out on her mom at a young age in favor of adventuring with Jack, she could very easily have been one of those kids who realized just how bad that decision was with a little more maturity, and then been unsure and afraid of trying to repair her relationship with her mother. It'd be an eerie parallel to exactly where Sarah ended up in her adult life. No 8-year old kid is intellectually or emotionally equipped to make a life-altering choice between their parents, and the adolescent Sarah wasn't any better equipped to understand that the CIA's offer to avoid jail time was a devil's bargain.

    And it didn't stop there. Over and over, what we see with Sarah is that she does the best she can with awful circumstances she didn't choose, or chose only when a bad set of options was on the table. Yeah, her dad and Graham are the guys most responsible for the fact that she's in those situations in the first place, but she reaches a point where she just doesn't see a way out. Not wanting to be a con artist any more (she must have reasoned) wouldn't have changed all the cons she pulled in the past: Not wanting to be "Langston Graham's wild-card enforcer" any more wouldn't have fixed the people she'd killed and hurt. Bryce didn't make this better or worse; he was just more of the status quo. The brilliance of her relationship with Chuck is that his insistence on seeing the best in her isn't just an endearing personality trait on his end -- it allows Sarah to break the cycle. Having Chuck reach out for the best in her so constantly is what convinces her that she can be that person, just as it spurs her to keep reaching out for the best in him.

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  142. (continued because this episode apparently really bugged me)

    I don't expect or want any one episode to explain a character's entire psychological profile, but Baby just bothers me because so much of what could have made this episode great is hamstrung by the problems described in the article and comment thread.

    (On a related note, I would actually argue that Santa Suit, which only touches upon Sarah's backstory tangentially, did a much better job of showing why she is the way she is. Shaw is a great villain because everything he says to Sarah about how she destroyed his life is actually 100% true. As I wrote on another Chuck blog, Sarah is arguably the best character on the show because she wants redemption so badly but fears she doesn't deserve it. And, from certain points of view, she's actually right. If the show were Sarah rather than Chuck, that would probably have been the overarching theme of the show.)

    Apart from that, it's almost physically painful to see a gifted actress and a wonderful character being given material that serves the show so poorly. It is exceptionally rare to see Yvonne Strahovski turn in a performance that doesn't immediately resonate with the audience, and I love -- LOVE -- seeing Yvonne put Sarah through her paces. I do not like seeing the amount of effort Yvonne puts into her work vanish into a headache-inducing continuity problem.

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  143. Being beaten to a pulp by both men, Shaw and Ryker. The most violent and dark episode to date. Even the Santa Claus had humor. I wonder if any kids were scarred after watching this episode being a family show. Just my thoughts.

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  144. It's great to see that there are others who think this isn't "one of the best" Chuck episodes ever and are actually bothered by the mess it was.

    Also: When was this ever a family show? When Sarah was walking around in her underwear? When Carina was walking around in her underwear? When Mouser was shot in cold blood? When Emmett was shot in cold blood? When Orion was shot in cold blood? When Casey was poisoned and bleeding out his eyes and ears? Any of season 3? Point is, for the most part, this show is a comedy, not a family show.

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  145. One more thing, because I saw this last week and this week:

    Sarah's a trained assassin, we've seen her kill, beat up, and even possibly torture (Phase Three, I don't remember if she really did right now) and all that everyone's cool with and even cheers; but show her getting some of the same treatment she's doled out, and it's oh my god, how can they do that to her? That's the freakin' life she leads! I'm not even talking about the numerous plot holes that led to those set-ups, just saying: is it that big a surprise that she might be the one on the receiving end once in a while? At this point, we've seen she's really not that good a spy... I'm surprised it hasn't happened more often.

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  146. "I guess if you're going to mess up a show might as wait until the last season to burn the fans."

    Here's is something someone who doesn't work on the show but is in the industry said to me (paraphrased):

    "They probably thought it's the pilot episode so it doesn't matter. Lots of writers think that way."

    Apparently some in the industry actually DISMISS the events of the pilot episode while fans consider it the foundation for everything to come.

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  147. Only 4% of Chuck viewers are aged 2-11. It's not a "family show" and never has been.

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  148. But for some reason Chris Fedak thinks it is a family show. Zac has even mentioned that he likes that families can watch it together. Well, this last episode was so dark and bloody that I wouldn't let my child watch it.

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  149. Ryker stabbed through the chest. Blood pouring from his lips. Yes people, comedy at its finest. Muahaha. Now on a serious note. Tehehe. I think we've beaten this review to death. Now on to the Adventures of Gertrude & John. It just makes my little heart skip a beat. 5 more episodes Fedak. I hope you didn't blow those too. Do we see spin-off's ? A movie? Only time will tell. Invested Chuck Fan who eats Subway Sandwiches. (plug-plug)

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  150. To HGF. You are correct. The pilot is what makes the show. Either it holds your interest or not. Something happened between the 3rd season till now. Viewership dropped. People got bored with the same old premise. Guy works at Best Buy type store. Nobody works, they just play around. Will he get the girl or not ? Casey always shot. Chuck, never a scratch on his body. Something killed the ratings, and a show that could of lasted 6, or 7 seasons. The Simpsons are going on 23 years plus. Now everybody from Chuck is out of work. :-(

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  151. Buy Chuck DVD's. Seasons 1-3. $15.00 each. Wal-Mart.com. For those who want to relive the adventure.

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  152. You can't compare an animated show to live action. Animated characters don't age. They don't change. We perceive the "actors" differently. We are just far more forgiving of animated shows.

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  153. Molly sees Sarah's mother as her own mother so I doubt they'll just give her over to Chuck and Sarah lol.

    We are just far more forgiving of animated shows.

    That is so true.

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  154. "3. Sarah doesn't know that a 5-year old doesn't cry like a 5-month old. So now we know that she's an idiot too."

    I am kinda amazed how much this show relies on the characters to act/be stupid, They certainly are the worst spices in the world.

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  155. sorry spies, stupid autocorrect

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  156. Interesting what your industry source said regarding the level of thought toward the pilot episode at this point in the show. I was actually thinking today, when going over some of the issues with this episode; whether writers who come in after the 1st or 2nd season are required to, or expected to watch all of the show's previous episodes. I relaized it was something I sort of assumed good writers would do but that I had no info or proof of. I was thinking of it in terms of the massive turn over in the Chuck writing staff from S.1.

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  157. I doubt they are expected to watch every episode. Or ANY episodes.

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  158. Yeah, that seems totally absurd, but also what I suspect the industry norm is.

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  159. That's not to say they don't watch every episode. I just don't think they expect writers they bring in once a show has been around for several seasons, to watch every episode, or maybe any. They are most likely given a show outline and briefed. But I'm just guessing based on things I have heard here and there over the years.

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  160. Well, Chris Fedak has been the showrunner for this show for all 5 seasons.

    It's not one of Judkins and Lefrank's best moments since being with the show since season 3.

    From watching a lot of television over the years i'd guess new writers they bring in aren't required to watch old episodes and often times don't.

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  161. Yeah I kinda figured writers were briefed, but that maybe the burden for certain key details actually falls to either a showrunner or senior staff to go back and review a pilot episode when referencing show history. That sheds some light on things, but certainly doesn't excuse big gaffs. Again, you'd expect it to be something a quality writer would want to do on their own, to make sure they understand a show fully. But also, might not be feasible, considering shooting schedules and movement between shows etc.

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  162. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  163. The show runner deserves all the blame for canon violations. Though, the script supervisor should probably do a little check to make sure background episodes maintain continuity.

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  164. I think Le Franc and Judkins mentioned in an interview that they watched every episode before they were brought on board and said they loved the show. So I am very suprised they fucked up so big. That said, they are massive shippers and so I can see them just writing with their hearts a little too much and ignoring huge things. I mean it is like they just forgot about Bryce totally or something else. Or it could be that Bryce thematically was not included because he was not important to the current arc...i.e. Chuck and Sarah decideing that they do not need anyone to tell them what to do anymore and them deciding to choose their own fate.

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  165. I think it may be the story editor's responsibility to maintain continuity over the course of a series. But, I think Judkins and LeFranc are the current story editors.

    Of course, the showrunner is ultimately responsible.

    Script supervisors are responsible for an episode's internal continuity.

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  166. Hi HGF,

    Just wondering, how do you rate Strahovski as an actress and how would you rate her performance in vs the Baby?

    I haven't seen the episode yet because I have seen how divisive it has been. Comments on YS's delivery might help me make up my mind.

    JD

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  167. "Script supervisors are responsible for an episode's internal continuity."

    Which is why I said "the script supervisor should probably do a little check to make sure background episodes maintain continuity."

    Since the writers of this episode are the story editors.

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  168. "Just wondering, how do you rate Strahovski as an actress and how would you rate her performance in vs the Baby?"

    Yvonne is a fine actor and her performance in this episode is not one of my complaints.

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  169. Yvonnes performance was great as usual. She worked with the script she was given. To many gaps in the script with her back story.

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  170. I think that when they said that S5 was a "love letter to the fans" they meant "let's give them what WE think that they want, and to hell the logic, continuity, etc...".
    So we have Casey's love interest - check, Chuck is a computer wizard and a smart guy also without the Intersect - check, Chuck defeating Shaw once and for all - check, Sarah's back story and Sarah's mother - check, and so on...
    If you expect too much from the show to come, I expect more people to be disappointend before the end: I hope that I am wrong (again...)

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  171. Disappointed before the end. Check

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  172. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  173. Her real name is NOT Sarah. It’s Sam Lisa something. Sarah Walker was her spy cover name when investigating Chuck at the beginning of the series. This was revealed in earlier seasons but never picked up. She also has a mysterious life as a con artist prior to joining the CIA. With the series ending, I would hope they would address this.

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  174. I don't think that is what a script supervisor does. They interviewed her in one of the DVD extras about Zac's directing of leftovers. Here's a job description:

    "Script Supervisors in film and television work as part of the camera department to make sure that the production has continuous verbal and visual integrity. They must ensure that when different takes and scenes are finally edited the production does not contain distracting continuity errors. Script Supervisors observe every shot closely and take precise and detailed notes to provide directors and editors with an authoritative reference. Script Supervisors work long hours and are involved during pre-production and principal photography. They may be required to spend long periods away from home."

    This is a person on the set and not in the writer's room.

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  175. @Anonymous: About Sarah's name, if I remember well, we see in Couguars that Graham first thing gives her the name of Sarah Walker as her new identity: so we should suppose that she had/used that name since let's say 1998. But In Wookie, when Sarah "meets" Carina, she asks what's her name in this mission, and she says Sarah Walker: but they knew each other already, so even if she might have used a cover name in previous missions, she never told her spy BFF her real/cover name?
    One of too many things that come out, if you just analyze it, IMO...

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  176. The ultimate icing on the cake would be to have Scott Bakula make some kind of appearance. Now that would be a perfect ending.

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  177. I've read almost all the comments, but not all, so maybe I missed this question.

    How did Shaw know about the baby?

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  178. Right, I assumed that Shaw learned about Ryker himself through either records or the Intersect, but less clear is how Shaw knew that the baby was alive, as theoretically only Sarah should have known that. It's possible he may have been bluffing to see how she'd react.

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  179. "so even if she might have used a cover name in previous missions, she never told her spy BFF her real/cover name?"

    I guess we were supposed to think, at that point, that she had used different cover names on different missions. But in Cougars, just to give a wink to the fans, they made it as if Graham would have given her a cover name before she even went through training, which is fuckin' ridiculous. But at least it didn't try to pretend like he recruited Sarah in high school to become Chuck's handler. ;)

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  180. I think that the bullet train in a couple of episodes will simply disappear, swallowed up by the plot holes of this whole story... :)

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  181. On last week's podcast I said the final moments of the finale were a 10... but I'm worried that getting to those moments will be a 2. Which would make that 10 a 5.

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  182. HGF. I watched the ending again of 5.08 and Sarah telling Chuck she wants to quit the spy business and live a "normal life". Are we to assume that 1) She has no more skeletons in the closet keeping from Chuck. 2) Shaw is still alive, knows about the baby, and still is keeping a grudge with the Bartowski's ? All is forgiven with Shaw ? Your thoughts about this ?

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  183. Shaw read Sarah's file. Maybe he flashed on somethings and learned even more things/secrets about her.

    I also wondered why they didn't kill off Shaw; maybe they want to keep their options open for a movie.. :P

    Not that I'm really expecting that at this point, but who knows??

    S.

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  184. So Shaw gets a flash about Sarah and the " baby " while he was in prison . Yet Chuck had the INTERSECT for 4 years and knows NOTHING about Sarah's past CIA missions . Man , I love this show !!

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  185. @Head geek furious
    I have not checked this blog for a couple of days and to be honest why would I, I get you didnt like the episode but I thought sites like this would respect other peoples opinions. Obviously I was wrong you have your belief however wrong that may be and others are not allowed to disagree with that.
    Just to be clear you believe that although Casey did not kow anything about Chuck, that you freely agree with.

    "Obviously he didn't know about Chuck because she got to him first. Had it gone the way 5.08 showed it, he WOULD have beat her to Chuck because she wouldn't have been around to find him first."

    "Are you really this dense?"

    Los Angeles population appr 3.8 million and you belive he would have have found the right person with no investigation in a couple of hours. Yes it is possible but unlikely

    I think it is quite possible that the CIA did not give Bryces file to the NSA straight away (inter agency poilitics). Graham gives Sarah the file and she leaves Washington a couple of hours later but has the advantage of knowing who her target is and can find him straight away.
    But who cares what anyone else thinks right.
    I may be 'dense' but at least i repect other peoples opinion.

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  186. Srb. In Nacho Sampler, Sarah received Chucks picture by cellphone. In Baby it shows Graham giving her the file with Chucks picture in it. One is correct and other is wrong. Either that or she has amnesia and can't remember what his face looks like. (Hint: His picture is in the file your carrying.) Just my perspective of the continuity problem from the two episodes.

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  187. Graham with the original Beckman tells Casey to find the (person) Bryce sent the files too. So according to Baby, Graham met with Sarah the night (day) before and sent her after Chuck knowing he was sent the intersect by Bryce ? Then Graham meets with Beckman and Casey the next day (or same day), Casey shows him Bryce's cracked Smartphone and he is sent to Burbank looking for the mysterious person. Something doesn't jive here.

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  188. Maybe the operator was sending his picture to her in nacho sampler as just protocol. She did not ask for it...she was asking for details that might not have been in the file Graham have her. The description was a loner or something..or a guy who had his heart broken. It was not tall, dark and handsome :)

    As for the last post, remember back in those days when nither the CIA or NSA trusted each other. Maybe when Graham met with Beckman...he lied to give Sarah a day head start. I mean Sarah did get to Chuck first after all.

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  189. "I get you didnt like the episode but I thought sites like this would respect other peoples opinions"

    Your opinion is stupid.

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  190. Casey is the one in possession of the device. Casey meets with Beckman and Graham. So, we know WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT, that Casey is given the order to find who the email went to BEFORE Sarah. And then, you have to figure it took the CIA some time to come up with the info about who the email went to and had the file ready for Sarah to view. So, Casey had at worst a half-a-day head start on her if you go by Baby.

    It's fuckin' stupid.

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  191. I think Sarah went with the name Illana Truffo on one mission Chuck flashed on, I think it was episode 2 of season 1 (the one with French assasins). She may have had others but who knows.

    As for the Chuck crew...back in season 3 Chuck versus the Mask podcast I think either Prez or DR said that they expect better from Lost because it simply looked a better show and Old Darth replied that that is not a great excuse and the Chuck people should be better even on these tight deadlines. Maybe the truth is and one a lot of people have known for a long, long, long time is that this creative team and crew does not match the cast talent.

    That is harsh but it is what it is.

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  192. JJ, I certainly don't ever expect LOST type writing from these writers and anyone who does is fuckin' nuts. You can't expect something from these writers they have never delivered.

    But major time line continuity violations are never excusable.

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  193. Then again (not to take away from one I said in my last post) uncertainty for a show can do funny things. I mean season 2 and 3 of Lost is considered their weakest along with 6. When they did not know where they were going or how long they had or if they could have ended anytime...Lost got bad and it dragged and it dragged badly.

    In the end those two seasons are probably the reason that the show was so polarising in the end, they just were not thinking about the questions they were raising while they were meandering along and so once they got a certain finish point they just answered what they could.

    I will give the Chuck people this...as bad as the uncertainty of this show has been since season 2...the only season that critics and fans have written off has been season 4. People are happy or quite happy with the rest. So not bad Chuck people, not bad.

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  194. I don't agree that LOST ever "got bad." Sure, they had weak seasons but it never "got bad." Same with BSG and THE WIRE. Weak seasons? Sure. But even their weak seasons could shit all over the best of most shows.

    I also don't think I would ever write off season 4 of CHUCK. I just think it is a season with the weakest payoff to the bad guy story. It has some fun episodes, though.

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  195. I suppose perspective is important at times and how you watched the series as well. I only learned of Lost before the season 4 premier and so watched the first 3 seasons in 2 weeks.

    So when I watched season 2 (which I found the funniest) it was great because I never had much time to think from one episode to the next and with the pace of my viewing I enjoyed what they were doing because I could satisfy my curiosity instantly. I mean that button was so, so, so funny. Jack screaming at Desmond that he did even know what he was afraid of or Locke...oh Locke...what a pathetic idiot.

    All that is too say I think for a fan who watched from the beginning and every episode from the beginning....When I mean bad, I mean bad for them..I mean the nikki and Paulo episode or the beggining of season 3 in the cages and Jacks interogation scene with Juliet or even the stranger in a strange land or the beginning of season 2 and that damn fucking button. For those fans I think Lost got bad.

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  196. Exactly. If you catch up with a show, then the seasons that bothered those who were watching it week to week, with huge spaces in between and long waits between seasons, then you experience it differently.

    My first season of watching week-to-week was season 3. And I had no problems with it because I had just digested so much in one shot. The only thing that was tough was the wait between episodes. I also didn't read LOST forums or even LOST reviews, so I had a very different experience from those fans who did.

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  197. I'd say the same goes for CHUCK. I got a few people into the show in season 3. So, that is their favorite season by far. They don't have any problems with Shaw like the shippers who were with the show in seasons 1 and 2 do. I am sure if someone starting watching in season 4, then that is their favorite season.

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  198. Cable has it right in a way. Air the whole season in 13 straight weeks, but then again we have to wait a year between seasons or in Mad Men's case almost fucking 2.

    But I appreciate that they also cram in more material in those 13.

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