25 January, 2012

21-Days of CHUCK! Day 19: The Villain is the Hero of His Own Story


The bad guy doesn't become the bad guy because he wants to do evil. Well, not usually. Though, that would be an interesting bad guy.

No, the bad guy tends to think he is the good guy. That he is doing what needs to be done. Or he truly believes the "good guys" are the "bad guys." After all, the Nazis didn't think they were the bad guys. People justify their evil.

CHUCK had several of these evil doing "heroes" through its five seasons. Let's explore them and define their level of competency.

Season 1
There wasn't really a big bad guy to speak of until late in season 1 when Fulcrum was introduced following the discovery that Bryce was still alive. This started us down a path toward arguably the best evil organization the show would ever have. Tommy Delgado is the most memorable enemy agent of season 1.
Competency Grade: 82 out of 100 - The danger was elevated once Fulcrum was introduced but it wasn't around long enough for the audience to get a true sense of their strength.

Season 2
Fulcrum essentially survived as the bad guy for the whole season with ever increasing levels of danger coming at Team B. Fulcrum was then eliminated by The Ring in the season finale.

Fulcrum agents included Jill Roberts, Chuck's college sweetheart who he started dating again before discovering she was the enemy. Ted Roark, who was something of a Bill Gates type and Chuck's hero, also turned out to be a high ranking member of Fulcrum. And throughout the second season, we were introduced to new and more dangerous members of the agency within The Agency.
Competency Grade: 98 out of 100 - They seemed to only be getting stronger at every turn and the audience felt a real fear and danger for Team B. People died. The Bartowski clan was in danger. And you felt like Chuck might be boxed up in a hole somewhere by one side or the other any day now.

Season 3
The Ring was talked about like it was this massive organization that made Fulcrum seem like a bunch of wussies. In the end, they were taken down in a stairwell by a capable spy and a short dude with no bullets in his weapon. Though, the journey was a bit more interesting than that, but The Ring was too wide spread to ever seem as much of a threat as Fulcrum. The most memorable Ring agent in season 3 was Daniel Shaw, though he was someone out to avenge the murder of his wife.
Competency Grade: 83 out of 100 - You would think that the organization that pretty much wiped out Fulcrum in a day would have been more sinister. Unfortunately, it never fully lived up to the hype.

Season 4
Alexei Volkoff was the next bad guy and he was great! The mid-season finale gave Chuck a nice comeback as he brought the Volkoff Industries down. HOWEVER, then Volkoff's daughter, Vivian, took over and the whole bad guy plot went to hell as both Volkoff's ended up as just good guys in unfortunate circumstances. Yawn.
Competency Grade: Alexei, 85 out of 100. Vivian, 40 out of 100. Overall, 62.5.

Season 5
This one felt more like season 1 in that we were given several bad guys, who may have been working together but didn't really get into the big payoff bad guy until the end. Out of the three bad guys, Sarah's old boyfriend, Shaw, seemed the most competent.
Competency Grade: Decker, 75 out of 100. Shaw, 90 out of 100. Quinn, 75 out of 100. Overall, 80.

What say you?


30 comments:

  1. I love how you say Sarah's old boyfriend Shaw, hehehehe! Keep on digging at the crazies to the bitter end, lol.

    It used to make me laugh so much and feel a little sorry during season 3 just how uncomfortable Yvonne looked opposite Routh. I have seen arranged marriages where the brides and grooms look less freaked out that they have to do something neither of them want to! lol.

    Especially Mask where it looked like he made her skin crawl....always 2 minutes away from blowing a rape whistle.

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    1. "It used to make me laugh so much and feel a little sorry during season 3 just how uncomfortable Yvonne looked opposite Routh. I have seen arranged marriages where the brides and grooms look less freaked out that they have to do something neither of them want to!"

      Funny, I thought she was even smiling when she and Shaw kissed in Fake Name. I felt like Sarah had the hots for him.

      S.

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    2. Yeah when he kissed her neck she looked comfortable or the most awkward back rub in the history of mankind. Oh and everytime she kissed him she was leaning so far back I was worried that she might break her back....yeah she had the hots for him, sure.

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    3. @ZAYAFOAMCST: Are you a guy? I'm a girl, and to me she looked very turned on when Shaw kissed her neck. She was so enjoying it but didn't want to. I loved Yvonne's facial expressions in that scene, and the kiss itself.. well, I so wanted to be her.

      S.

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  2. Mark Pellegrino: ‘Fulcrum Agent’ from Chuck vs. the Fat Lady will be in the final episode to update Fulcrum's current dirty deeds done dirt cheap.

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  3. You summed it up pretty well. I would say the only major thing The Ring accomplished was killing Steven Bartowski, but that seemed more like a vendetta of Shaw's than a goal of the organization.

    I also agree about Quinn being a "75". With two episodes left, I doubt he will elevate above that. But, I am engaged in the scenario his arc has brought us with Sarah and Chuck.

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    1. To me, it is difficult to give The Ring credit for Papa B's death. Just as it is difficult for me to really put Shaw into The Ring. He didn't really care whose side he was on, he just wanted revenge.

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  4. I love that they all got "competency grades" lol. It's sad though that you had to average out the Volkoff's as a dynasty since they were related. Vivian's arc really brought down that score big time.

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  5. I dunno, I like Quinn. First of all, they seem to have made him Kenny from South Park. He dies (or seems to) and keeps coming back anyway. And he's so pathetically, obsessively devoted to getting the intersect, he's a cool mix of danger and utter silliness. If they had the foresight (or luck) to have written him in some of the backstory (say, Alma Mater) as the "fat kid" hanger-on to Chuck and Bryce, he really would have been fantastic.

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    1. I like Quinn but his competency seems iffy.

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    2. I don't like Quinn but I prefer him to Volkoff. Quinn just didn't have the proper development, and I really don't buy him as a super spy. He reminds me to the bad guys from the Looney tunes cartoons, lol.

      S.

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    3. Julian says ...

      Quinn is kinda meh to me right now . Though I feel he's brought a lot of tension to the show now , well for Sarah and Chuck . I hope we learn what his motivations are and not just the " I was supposed to have the intersect and now Im plotting revenge against chuck " type dal . We already had that similar situation with Shaw and that tension was earned through his back story .

      It would make a lot of sense if he was on of the original pioneers of the original intersect along with Orion and the scientist ( the name escapes me ) from vs lethal weapon . That or be one of the names from the Orion Cave at the end of S3 on the boxes . It would be a nice way to come full circle with the mythology . But I doubt that will be the case .

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  6. I never felt that team B. was in bigger danger as when Daniel Shaw was the villain. He's the most ralistic, believable and complex villain in the whole series.

    I also really liked Roark, The Ring Director, Mauser, Colt and Sydney Prince.

    Volkoff was too goofy and didn't come off as truly menacing, IMO.I also didn't like his arc at all. Same for Mama B. The show didn't seem to know what to do with the character and Hamilton was boring in the role. At least Dalton was kinda fun to watch, though I got tired of him pretty soon.

    S.

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    1. Shaw was a great villain . No doubt about it . I think if they had made him more sketchy from the start of S3 where people got a sense that he was up to something the masses ( certain shippers ) would have accepted it differently . Volkoff was good but I didn't feel the tension . I was laughing more when Timothy Dalton was being menacing . He was just so good at it .

      Mama B didn't work for me either . On one hand it was nice to see her effect on Chuck and Ellie though . But the guessing as to whether she was supposed to be good or evil ? COME ON . This is Chuck after all and that part of her story was just ridiculous . If the show wanted to be ballsy they should have made Mary Bartowski the ultimate villain and she was just using Volkoff as a stooge . She could have been agent X and that would have been a better story for her 20 year absence . Maybe a little to like Alias but I would have liked it . Dad being the ultimate hero and Mom the ultimate villain .

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    2. "Shaw was a great villain . No doubt about it . I think if they had made him more sketchy from the start of S3 where people got a sense that he was up to something the masses ( certain shippers ) would have accepted it differently . Volkoff was good but I didn't feel the tension . I was laughing more when Timothy Dalton was being menacing . He was just so good at it ."

      Interesting ideas.

      S.

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  7. I agree with pretty much everything you said HGF.

    I think the problem with the Ring was that we were told that they were bigger and more evil than Fulcrum but we were never shown that.

    When we would see Ring agents they were just doing the same things Fulcum was doing.

    They brought in Mark Sheppard to play the leader of the Ring but he was only in two episodes, captured by Casey and never seen again.

    Unlike Chevy Chase who was given more to do, he had personal history with Stephen Bartowski and his intentions were clearer.

    I did like Mark Sheppard's character the little we saw of him.

    Some of my favorite villains.

    Michael Rooker ( Santa Clause)
    Arnold Vosloo ( Pedator)
    Patrick Kilpatrick (Gravitron)
    Jordana Brewster
    Ray Wise
    Angie Harmon
    David S. Lee (Masquerade)
    Richard Burgi (The actor who played Decker)

    Ray Wise i think is underrated as a bad guy on Chuck.

    I loved how he manipulated Vivian Volkoff and he was just great.

    I thought he should have been the main bad guy after Volkoff went to prison.


    Timothy Dalton was great as this evil comical badass villain but to me his character was ruined when they did the Agent X storyline.

    Because Volkoff was better as a villain and to me someone else should have been Agent X.

    Daniel Shaw had the best storyline of all the season long recurring bad guys.

    Chevy Chase did a good job playing against type.

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    1. I usually like Mark Sheppard, but the role of "Ring Director" did not do him justice at all.

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    2. Mark and I were post buddies over at the SyFy (then SciFi) forums. So, I love the dude. But he wasn't utilized well on the show.

      As for Ray Wise... meh.

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  8. I thought Decker was better than Quinn has been at least up until now.

    I liked how Decker was different that he was just out to make Chuck, Sarah, Casey and Morgan's life miserable.

    Quinn has the same storyline that we've already seen before by both Fulcrum and the Ring.

    I agree Mark Sheppard was given too little to do probably because they didn't have time to fit him in longer.

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    1. Sheppard is just so cool! I really liked his performance as RD, and I liked it how it was Casey who captured him.

      S.

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  9. The real bad guy here was the Nielsen ratings that kept this show on the bubble for 4 years. Team B and Carmichael Industries should take that mother out permanently. Signed the average viewer who hates Reality TV. Team Chucksters.

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    1. Nielsen just measures ratings. All shows have an equal chance. Ignorance is a wonderful thing when finding a faceless enemy to hate. The real problem was that the passionate fan base just wasn't representative of the feelings the general public had for the show.

      And all you need as proof of that is DVD sales which were average at best. If our Nielsen ratings weren't accurately representative of viewer base, then those DVD sales would be huge.

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    2. I get he science behind he Nielsen system . The only thing that bugs me is say for instance you have a Nielsen house hold in your community of say 500 house holds . 499 of those watch Chuck on hen Mondays @8 . But the one household that has the Nielsen box watches DWTS at that same time . Those 499 people don't count , but that one household that watches that show out of the 500 gets counted and represents like 60k people .

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    3. The math of the system essentially accounts for that nearly impossible scenario.

      If there are 10,000 people in your town and only one of them watches CHUCK and that person happens to be a Nielsen Family member, then guess what? He just covered the other town where 9,999 people are not being represented.

      The system is specifically designed to cover these scenarios.

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  10. i am really gonna miss this show nbc needs its ass kicked

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    1. How can people still say s*** like this after they gave us 5 seasons +(probably) closure where any other network may have not even given us a second let alone a third, fourth and fifth?

      A.

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    2. NBC needs to be thanked. They took better care of this show than WB... the studio that OWNS the show.

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  11. I forgot to mention that i really liked Robert Patrick as a bad guy on the show.

    He's good at playing bad guys in general.

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    1. Yes, Robert Patrick was great! I also liked the actor that played Rafe Gruber in Fake Name. He was very sinister and menacing.

      S.

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