May 25, 2010


Like I said in my initial review of "Chuck vs. the Subway" and "Chuck vs. the Ring: Pt. 2", the one thing Chuck does well is wrap up a season and the season 3 finale was no exception.

It was a good thing that fans (the few that are left) got a killer season finale because it kind of made up for the mixed reactions that season 3 received overall. Now, I thought the first part of S3 was great, but not enough Chucksters agreed with me, so it was important that the showrunners righted the ship towards the end.

Season Summary
I a lot of ways Season 3 of Chuck was two separate seasons. We got the initial 13-episode season, and the tacked on 6-episode mini-season.

Part 1 focused on Chuck embracing his role as a spy and Sarah's unhappiness because she feels he is no longer the man she fell for. This was also when the Chuckpocalypse was at an all-time high because so many fans were upset because Chuck ended up with Hannah while Sarah had eyes for Shaw.

Shippers are a mixed blessing because they are a passionate fanbase, but they can hurt a show if they don't get what they want. The beginning of the end started with "Chuck vs. the Mask", which ruffled the shippers' feathers, and the show really wasn't able to rebound.

I for one liked the first part of Season 3 because the creators were doing something different. The storylines were a little darker, but they were able to keep to the Chuck formula that they had established. In the end Season 3.1 might have been too different for some fans, but I still applaud Schwartz and Fedak for trying something new.

Part 2 was more inline with the first two season of Chuck because the missions were a little bit lighter, and much of the relationship angst was gone since Chuck and Sarah finally ended up together. The first part of Season 3.2 was just OK in my opinion because it was to reliant on stand alone episodes like "Honeymooners" and "Role Models". I'm not against stand alones in general, but I do prefer more of an overarching storyline.

With that being said, the latter part of Season 3.2 started to get really good with Intersect melting Chuck's brain and the Shaw Returns storylines that started with "Chuck vs. the Tooth". For the first time Chuck's life is seriously in danger, and we finally get to see Shaw as the Big Bad which only fueled the fans hatred for him. The last four episodes of Season 3 were probably the best of them all.

Most Favorite Episode of the Season
Overall, Season 3 had some pretty good episodes, but the one that really stood out to me was "Chuck vs. the Subway". Shaw's back, the Intersect Project is about to be shut down, Ellie finds out about Chuck's spy life, Casey tells Alex he's her father, Orion is killed, and Team Bartowski is in disarray. There was so much going on, and this episode was so tense, that I got way too wrapped up in the storyline.

Honorable Mentions
"Chuck vs. the Other Guy" (Chuck "kills" Shaw and finally ends up with Sarah), "Chuck vs. the Tic Tac" (strong Casey-centric episode), "Chuck vs. the Fake Name" (some pretty good one-liners as Chuck pretends to be a world-class assassin), and "Chuck vs. Operation Awesome" (Devon's fully brought into the spy world).

Least Favorite Episode of the Season
While most every episode of Season 3 worked, the one episode that was only OK in my opinion was "Chuck vs. the Honeymooners". It was a good way to kick-off the second part of S3, but it was a little too light and slapsticky for my tastes, especially after the darker tones of Part 1. "Honeymooners" was not a horrible episode, but it just wasn't the strongest of the season.

Season 4 Predictions
The majority of Season 4 of Chuck is going to revolve around finding out more about Mama Bartowski and her connection to the spy world. Many people, myself included, immediately saw the parallels to Alias, so I can't say I'm too psyched about Season 4 just because it's been done before. I'm sure the season will still be entertaining, but I'm a little bummed that both of Chuck's parents were spies, and before you know it Ellie's going to be one too. I'm putting money on Mama Bartowski being a major Ring agent, but will end up changing sides to save her son and/or daughter. Although her being a pure baddie from start to finish would be interesting.

Also, I'm predicting that Season 4 is the last season of Chuck, and hopefully we'll get an appropriate finale instead of another cliffhanger with hopes that Season 5 will be picked up. Don't get me wrong, I don't want Chuck to end, but with dwindling numbers, I cannot see NBC giving in yet again. I'd rather get a neat, tidy ending than be left dangling in the wind.

Season 3 of Chuck ended up rubbing a lot of "fans" the wrong way, but I still think it was the strongest season yet. I loved the darker moments, but I also enjoyed it when the show went back to its roots. In the end, I wish more people trusted the show creators, and maybe the ratings wouldn't have suffered so much had they had some faith, but c'est la vie. We got a fourth season, so I'm happy.


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