Frea vs. mxpw - Chuck vs. the Push Mix

Chuck vs. the Push Mix
Season 4, Episode 13, original air-date January 31, 2011

Chuck and Morgan embark on a mission to take down Alexei Volkoff, while Sarah tries to rescue Chuck's mom. Casey tries to get to know his daughter better, and Ellie eases Devon into fatherhood.

So I think that Castle Inanity has been getting a bit of a reputation as "those jerks that don't like the show" and seem determined to ruin it for everybody else.  I suppose that's a better rep than those mean, mean bloggers that kick puppies and tell children Santa Claus is coming to gun them down, but it still makes me sad.  I think the problem is, I grew up getting my daily nourishment from TelevisionWithoutPity, whose philosophy is "Spare the snark, spoil the network."  I can't speak for Maximus, but to me, it kind of feels like being the teacher forced to watch that bright, could-get-a-scholarship student in the front row hand in lazy, sloppy work week after week.  Neither of us hates the show, nor is anywhere close to it, and we probably never will be.  And we don't hate anybody for liking the show when we find faults in it, nor do we think their opinions are wrong; opinions are opinions, and everybody has them.

Besides, how could you hate this?

The review's after the break. (And thanks to Strahology for the GIF that means mxpw will never again be able to function in normal society)

Frea: So, Maximus, I'm really excited.

mxpw: You've been watching the clip of Sarah belly-dancing on repeat, too?

Frea: No, which is why I actually got stuff done today. I know what lies in that direction, and if you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you.

mxpw: That would explain why I seemingly lost two hours earlier today. I started looking at it and next thing I knew, I had missed lunch.

Frea: Oh noes! Sarah Walker wouldn't want that, Maximus. She's all for a well-balanced diet. You need to be careful with that kind of power! But what I'm excited about is Roan Montgomery, personally.

mxpw: I am looking forward to his return as well.

mxpw: Chuck could use another lesson in manning up from the master spy.

Frea: Because not only does it literally mean the possibility of cartwheels went up by 62.3% (and this is a scientific fact), but this means I get to make ten bajillion Captain Stillman jokes next week!!

Frea: Seriously, I'm getting out my copy of Stripes out of the vault where I lovingly seal it after every viewing, and I will be marathoning like nothing else all day Monday.

mxpw: Just for the record, I have no intention of sneaking deep past Soviet lines to rescue you in a Winnebago.

Frea: It's okay, I've already enlisted Crystal for that. Covert-ops in the EM-50 are Head Minion tasks only.

mxpw: Whew! I have no idea how much rescuing I could do anyway what with my plans to infiltrate Sarah's belly dancing performance.

mxpw: Yes, readers, everything will be eventually coming back to that.

Frea: Good luck with that one. Send me a postcard from Schwedak's prison.

mxpw: Because I have a one-track mind.

Frea: Oh, speaking of prison... let's talk about Push Mix.

mxpw: Alright, if we must, we must.

Frea: "Speaking of, how is that a speaking of?"

mxpw: Oh aren't you clever...

mxpw: So the beginning.

Frea: When Sarah was belly-dancing?

mxpw: I'm not sure what to say. I suppose it's a good thing Casey has super-healing skills, or else Team B would have probably been frakked.

Frea: Can we stop for a moment and talk about Casey?

Frea: I do not understand why this man has not run for the hills.

mxpw: Because, if you weren't aware, he doesn't want to leave his daughter.

Frea: Okay, in S2, they shoot his toe off. In S3, Chuck yanked out a tooth. Now, we get to S4, and Sarah had thrown him off of a building.

mxpw: But like I said, he has super-healing skills. He probably even regenerated that toe. Like an iguana! Wait, do iguanas regenerate?

Frea: Starfish do.

mxpw: Casey is part lizard.

Frea: And Casey's always a star in my book.

mxpw: OMG, he's like the aliens from V!

Frea: Firefly reunion!!!

mxpw: High fives all around.

Frea: This is going to be one of those reviews, I can already tell.

mxpw: I honestly have no idea what you mean...

Frea: Uh-huh.

Frea: So yeah, they're lucky Casey is secretly the Wolverine.

mxpw: Right. Yeah, we all know the odds of Casey recovering from a fall/head injury like that in a matter of only a few days is, well, infinitesimal, but I am willing to overlook it. I just thought it was hilarious (and not necessarily in a good way) that it took the near-comatose dude to clue Chuck into the fact that he might want to search his pants for intel. Totally great planning there, Sarah!

Frea: To be fair to Sarah, I think Ellie has done Chuck's laundry all his life, so I don't think Chuck would know to search the pockets of the pants?

Frea: But man, Ellie's "He should be conscious in a day or two" just really, really, really made me facepalm.

Frea: Westside Hospital -- with the magic doctors!

mxpw: Oh, I just meant that Sarah cared so much about stopping Volkoff that she went out of her way to tell Chuck as soon as possible about the very important intel...hey, wait a minute...

Frea: Hey, that happened in Gobbler. Gobbler has no place here.

mxpw: And sadly, Push Mix made that abundantly clear.


Unless it's stuff like this. This, bring back as much as you like.
mxpw: My sincerest apologies, MBO!

Frea: But even though we're going to bash things left and right, I feel like I should make something abundantly clear: I didn't hate Push Mix, and I will try to focus on awesome things as well. Like the verbal acknowledgement that Morgan can inspire a Casey grunt like nothing else.

mxpw: Actually, that's something we should really talk about.

Frea: And the fact of the matter is, some mornings, I wake up saying "Pants," too.

mxpw: Gobbler, that is.

Frea: Let's get to that in a bit.

mxpw: ...I make no such promises.

Frea: When we talk about Sarah's plotline.

mxpw: Oh fine.

Frea: Right now we are focusing on Casey's pants, and I approve!

mxpw: I guess I can wait.

mxpw: It was really nice to know that there's still actual data stored in the Intersect. I was beginning to wonder.

Frea: I remember thinking that in Season Three.

Frea: Sometimes it's like, "Okay, so Chuck needs to bake a cake."


mxpw: Well, those eggs aren't going to crack themselves, Frea.

Frea: Excellent point. Sarah Walker cooks with knives, her boyfriend—no, fiancĂ©!—is the Iron Man Chef.

Frea: Okay, that didn't quite work. Now, what did you think of them grabbing Barry Greenfield?

mxpw: Who? Oh, you mean the guy they mistakenly grabbed?

mxpw: Yeeeeahhhh...

Frea: I think his name was Barry Greenfield.

mxpw: Like many things in this episode, that went on for way too long. And was largely unnecessary. It totally threw off the pacing.

This review is Gene-approved.
mxpw: And can I just say, as somebody who lived in Los Angeles for a number of years, grabbing somebody at UC Irvine and dragging them all the way back to Echo Park would take forever and would be totally impractical. But that's not really here nor there.

Frea: Well, this is also the show that had Chuck bike from Burbank to the Santa Monica pier in a matter of minutes.

mxpw: True. I sometimes wonder if they have borrowed the teleporters from Massive Dynamic.

Frea: Hee, Massive Dynamic, the one in NYC that it takes twenty minutes to get to from Harvard?

mxpw: Yup.

mxpw: That's the one.

Frea: See, I didn't mind the gimmick so much, but that's because I clung to the stance I kept from Gobbler. It made me laugh, and I've officially acknowledged that plotlines are never going to make sense, not when they can be funny or "epic." So I thought Morgan and Chuck grabbing the wrong guy was amusing. Too long? Yeah, but the whole episode was rife with pacing troubles.

Frea: And yes, I did mean to put "epic" in quotation marks.

mxpw: I'm not saying I didn't find it amusing, because I did, though it also made me cringe because it felt like the start to so many of the other "Let's humiliate Chuck!" storylines this show has done. I just would have liked tighter pacing in what could have been the series finale.

Frea: Yeah, totally understandable. I'm not sure Chuck and Morgan's brilliant plan was deserving of a Conspiracy Theory Wall with yarn and everything, as it was...um, incredibly straightforward.

How'd they get up the side of the boat?
mxpw: But I don't really fault LeJudkins for the pacing issues. This episode was largely out of their hands long before they ever got the assignment, probably. And they did a pretty decent job having to juggle about a billion different plotlines that all needed to achieve at least some resolution, however thorough.

mxpw: Yeah...that was true. But I forgive that because, well, it was amazing to see Chuck be so proactive for once.

Frea: You know what would have been awesome?

mxpw: What's that, Frea?

Frea: I can think of about three or four episodes they could have dropped and two major story arcs that could have also been tossed to the wayside (and let's face it, already were) in order to spread the billion plotlines out over three or four episodes, build them up with an appropriate sense of risk involved, and then the pacing problems would be nonexistent.

mxpw: Agreed.

Frea: Like, seriously, this episode was more overstuffed than my Uncle Evan at a pie-eating contest.

mxpw: But then we wouldn't have gotten the awesome Intersect-less arc that did so much development for Chuck's character!

mxpw: Oh wait...

mxpw: I feel like I'm saying that a lot lately.

Frea: I think sarcasm is our default font.

mxpw: It's possible you could be onto something.

mxpw: But yeah, you're right. If they had just done better foundation for this Volkoff conclusion, the episode probably would have been a lot less jumbled and would have been able to unfold relatively naturally.

Frea: I'll put Crystal onto doing some research on it. She goes to Stanford, she's smart. Anyway, this episode, while it had several feel great moments, just felt like a letdown to me, as sad as that makes me.

mxpw: I don't think this episode was a letdown for me, personally. I think it was more like a...let's just say it met my expectations.

Frea: Did you have to lower those expectations a great deal for it to meet them, though?

mxpw: Oh sure, but after 4.12 and what they did with Sarah there, I expected lower expectations.

Frea: You know, I think I'm being unfair. I went into the episode with insanely low expectations after my way of watching Gobbler turned out far more enjoyable than the punch to the face that was Balcony. So I was not enthused for the episode at all because I knew Mary taking 20 years would never fully be explained, and I knew that Volkoff wouldn't really have a purpose other than to be "The Bad Guy Who Does Bad Things" and to be fair to the episode, it had me smiling by the end. I wasn't in love, but I'll try not to be too negative.

mxpw: Welcome to my side of the fence! We have ribs and mojitos, if you're interested.

Frea: Mo-heeeee-tos!

mxpw: Heh.

mxpw: Can we talk about Sarah now?

mxpw: It feels unnatural to go this long without really mentioning her.

Frea: Yes, let's talk about Sarah now.

mxpw: Yes, finally!

mxpw: So Sarah Walker...

mxpw: I love Sarah Walker, but man, is the woman slow. I knew that they would underwhelm on the resolution to her declining Chuck's phone call at the end of Gobbler, but I really hadn't expected for them to write Sarah as completely clueless about how she was doing the wrong thing! They managed to sucker me there. I really had been holding out hope that Sarah would pull her own head out of her ass and I was very disappointed in her when she didn't.

Frea: Yeah, I don't think they really thought Sarah was doing the wrong thing, Maximus.

mxpw: See, I'm not entirely sure about that, because they did have Mary basically lecture her and tell her that, what a shock, the mission isn't worth losing Chuck over. Why Sarah had to be told that by somebody else, I have no idea, but...God, I hated her storyline in this arc.

Frea: And this goes back to the same problem they've had with the character since Season Three, as much as it pains me to see. They never really had Sarah ever really apologize for treating Chuck like crap or not believing in him because they never saw that as a problem. As long as Sarah is making the gesture, I think the Writers Room thinks that's fine. It's not like Chuck's really ever going to stand up for himself about it. How AWESOME was this week's episode about that in other regards, though? Welcome back, Chuck's Spine. Have a mojito.

mxpw: And the worst part is, her going undercover ended up being totally pointless. She contributed almost nothing to taking down Volkoff.

mxpw: You’re right, I should move away from Sarah or else I'll just develop an ulcer.

Frea: Yeah, as much as it pains me, Maximus, it's a differing philosophy and you can't beat your head against a brick wall like that.

Frea: Which is the nice way of saying, "Suck it up."

mxpw: I was SO happy to see the return of Chuck's spine! I have been talking about how lame Chuck has been this season and they finally gave me what I wanted, which was Chuck being proactive, taking charge of his life, and standing up for himself and what he believes in. I wish they hadn't waited till the very last minute, essentially, to do it and that the pacing wasn't so off, but damn it was good to see.

Frea: My family is never happy. Halfway through his epic speech to Volkoff, my dad goes, "Quit monologuing, Chuck!"

A gun is the only monologue you will ever need.  Suck it, Shakespeare!
mxpw: The scene with him and Volkoff was hands down the best scene in the episode. That was so much better than the lame, Chuck tricks Shaw to reveal his whole evil plan, plot they used in last year's finale. Chuck's plan was actually halfway decent, which was a welcome surprise this season.

mxpw: Haha. His monologuing had a purpose! It was so refreshing to see.

mxpw: Though now I have The Incredibles stuck in my head.

Spoiler alert: there is no way to match up the Incredibles
to the cast of Chuck, so there's not really a spoiler here.
Frea: It was nice that he had a plan. I liked that he used OrionTech to exact his revenge. Do I wish he'd done this, oh, twelve episodes ago? Yes, but let's not dwell. It was nice to see that the unspoken rule of No Talking About Orion! was lifted for this episode.

mxpw: Is that like the rule about Fight Club?

Frea: Yeah

Frea: One thing that stood out to me.

Frea: And I know why they did it the way they did it, but...

Frea: Why did Casey need to get smothered with a pillow?

mxpw: And why did he have to sacrifice his bonsai tree to take down...Igor, was it?

Frea: I mean, look at it this way: Beckman had an army waiting outside to take care of Volkoff's men, right? Which meant she was in the plan. Casey is an injured agent, surely they couldn't have hidden a couple of agents as a nurse to nab Volkoff's Could-Be-An-Observer assassin before he did actual damage to the injured agent?

Frea: I mean, I understand why they did it--they wanted to give Casey his moment of win--but...I don't know, it was kind of glaring for me.

mxpw: Possibly, but then we wouldn't get the whole awesome wrap-up to the Volkoff storyline as Chuck's master plan was unveiled. That didn't bother me that much.

Frea: Egads, an episode of Chuck has a plot hole just because it's cooler to do it this way? I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU.

mxpw: What did bother me about the wrap-up, though, was the amazing teleporting again. This was even more glaring than at any other point this season, I think. I really liked Beckman giving Chuck a chopper because he needed to make it to the hospital like right away (that was pretty hilarious and I really enjoyed Beckman there), but yet apparently there was enough time for Sarah and Mary to fly all the way back from Russia to Burbank, and oh yeah, change (though Sarah looked pretty hot in her outfit, so I forgive that), but Chuck needed to rush? I was like..."Huh?"

Frea: Was the Countess in Russia?

Frea: Cos it wasn't snowy on the docks...

Frea: And everybody knows snow means Russia.

mxpw: Riiiiiight. I'm pretty sure wherever it was, it wasn't in North America.

Frea: Yeah, I think the Countess was in L.A., dude, sorry.

Frea: Chuck and Morgan weren't all that cold when they were on top of the boat.

Frea: And Gobbler established that Moscow and L.A. are close neighbors.

Frea: Hey, look, I'm fanwanking again. Next!

mxpw: I guess we should talk about Morgan?

Frea: Ah, Morgan.

mxpw: Yeah... Chuck taking Morgan with him on the boat was pretty absurd, but the laser scene just went on for far too long. That was another example of the uneven pacing this episode had.

mxpw: Though it did lead to the very amusing scene where Sarah gives Morgan her coat.

Seriously, this is the greatest thing since Morgan hid behind a riot shield
to escape Sarah's wrath.
Frea: I have to give LeJudkins props, though.

Frea: Even though it made absolutely no sense for Morgan to be on the boat at all, this was the first time I was actually like, "You know, this is how I would see Morgan acting." It's probably because Chuck himself was awesome, which meant that Morgan being fun wasn't as grating as it usually is.

Frea: Every other writer, I think, would have succumbed to the desire to make Morgan talk more during the showdown in the cabin, too.

mxpw: That is a good point, and I have to give a nod to LeJudkins for that as well.

mxpw: Probably. Hell, the others would have probably put Morgan actually in the cabin. But LeJudkins have always been pretty good Chuck and Sarah writers, so I'm glad they didn't succumb to that urge.

Frea: I'm a little sad about Beckman.

Frea: I hated the scene in the beginning when she was benching Chuck. I mean, we joke about Sarah being a little slow, but compared to Beckman sometimes, she's a friggin' Rhodes Scholar.

mxpw: Yeah, you bring up a good point. I just hope that after Chuck has now taken down the Ring and Volkoff, Beckman will stop discounting him so much. And that Chuck will stop discounting himself so much. The best part of this whole episode, and honestly, it was almost enough to save the entire arc for me, but Chuck saved the day and defeated Volkoff without really using the Intersect.

mxpw: That was freaking glorious.

Frea: Amen.

Frea: Now, I'd like to have a moment of silence.

Frea: For the death of Awesome's awesomeness.

Frea: Murdered, and murdered horribly, by the writer of Operation Awesome, whoever that was, and it never managed to return. It is fully gone now.

mxpw: Cue the bagpipes.

*moment of silence*

mxpw: I can hear Taps in the distance.

mxpw: He gets a military funeral, seeing how he was a Captain and all.

Frea: What, sorry? It's dust in my eye, I tell you, it's dusty in here. *hurriedly puts away her tissues*

Frea: Seriously, Awesome, WHAT THE FRAK?

Frea: How the hell did you become a doctor?

mxpw: The Bubble of Handsomeness?

Frea: If I ever have to go to Westside, please let Ellie be my doctor, at least she can give me a magical cure. You, sir, made me want to kick you in the nuts.

mxpw: She can be my doctor too.

Frea: Hahaha.

Frea: You know, I really, really, really hate the habit this show makes of humiliating their characters in all of these high-powered, high-profile jobs that take smarts and dedication to obtain. Seriously, they do it to Chuck all the time, but now they've gone and pretty much ruined the character of Captain Awesome for me. Really? REALLY? He doesn't have a "Push Mix," so he has to call a CIA escort?

Frea: I can understand him being freaked out, but dude's a doctor, and it was one of those pacing issues where it went on far too long.

mxpw: Can I say that that was one of the very few times where the wormholes the CIA apparently makes liberal use of really worked for me? I thought that bit was funny, even if the reason for it was not.

Frea: I mean, the scene we got between Casey and Awesome was cute if you can get over the "OMG, let's run away from the anvils falling from the sky!" factor, but honestly, quit ruining Awesome, writers.

Frea: But moving past my short moment of rage, I'm so glad we didn't make any bets about Mary Bartowski.

mxpw: Yeah. Her storyline ended up being full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing. BAM! Shakespeare, what what.

Frea: And Hemingway!

mxpw: Haha.

Frea: Shakespeare and Hemingway? Sounds awful.

mxpw: Yet brilliant.

Frea: Yep, same problem the show's always had: all foreplay, no follow-through.

mxpw: Aaaanyway, so yeah, there really was no justification for the whole 20 year thing. But I did like a few scenes with her.

Frea: But Linda Hamilton!

mxpw: I thought the scene where Chuck scolds her was pretty good, I thought the scene where she told Sarah to get real was really good, mainly because we got to see that she does have regrets. And I thought she was pretty badass when she took Volkoff hostage. So basically, Linda Hamilton!

Frea: Linda Hamilton!

Frea: And Timothy Dalton! Of course his floating fortress of fun has an ice cream parlor.

Man, I feel so lame.  The only thing CI headquarters has is a popcorn
machine, and it requires a minion running on a hamster wheel to power it.
mxpw: Best throwaway line of the episode. And then when they cut to him actually eating ice cream, I about died. I thought that was perfectly done.

Frea: Agreed. Wish he'd had more meaning than Fulcrum and the Ring, but he didn't, and moving on. This episode is just jam-packed! We will never be finished talking about it. But hey, here's something. Josh Schwartz claimed the last ten minutes would be the best ten minutes on TV ever.

mxpw: Which, as you know, is frankly impossible without SWP. And there was no SWP in this episode, so he was definitely off the mark.

Frea: But there WAS a Sarah throwing knife! Hello, pretty.

mxpw: I was shocked to see she still had them. It's been ages since we saw her throw one.

Frea: yeah, I'm sorry to say that anything that includes Jeffster is automatically disqualified for being Best Ten Minutes on TV, not when I've seen Lorelai Gilmore sing, "Wind beneath my wings" to her daughter because two guys trashed a party fist-fighting over said daughter.

Frea: However, that proposal was pitch freaking perfect.

Frea: Rafe, Lauren, you are my FAVORITE.

Frea: And I don't mean "favorite" in the same way I do when I tell each one of my dogs and minions he or she is my favorite, just to inspire infighting. I mean you are my FAVORITE.

mxpw: Upon further reflection, I would have to agree that the proposal was really good. It was nicely shot and I did really like Sarah kneeling and diving into Chuck's arms. Some good, subtle writing there. It does warm my heart to know that this show can still pull off scenes like that. This is why we're so critical. They can obviously do great writing when they want to, why can't they just do that the majority of the time? That proposal made up for a lot of the episode's shortcomings.

mxpw: I am not commenting on that, you instigator.

Frea: I was glad we didn't get to hear what was said. I really like that that was as private a moment as it could be on a TV show.

mxpw: Yeah, I agree, though it's not hard to imagine what was said. "Yo, wanna get hitched?"

mxpw: "That idea is the bomb diggity," as Fates Sarah might say. "I'm down."

Frea: And Chuck would say, "Trudat. Awesomesauce."

Frea: And now, Maximus, we've got readers telling themselves, "I will never unsee that. How will I ever unsee that?"

mxpw: And to that, I say... Sarah belly dancing!


Frea: 6.5 out of 10 Castle Slides...Which Were Sadly Not Present

mxpw: 3.5 Sarahs Belly-Dancing out of 5

So, your thoughts on Chuck vs. the Push Mix?


  1. Anonymous2.2.11

    mxpw.. you get 3.5 Sarahs? Lucky you. =[

    Awesome review, though. Love the captions underneath the pictures as well. CI needs to upgrade that popcorn maker, methinks.

    And the proposal? I think Frea put it best. Definitely perfect.

  2. Anonymous2.2.11

    I feel like you guys pretty much captured it for me. Pacing issues were a problem, the Chuck growing a spine thing was too long in coming, but totally awesome when it finally showed up, and the proposal scene could not have been better written or acted. I was actually moved, and it's been awhile since this show's done that. Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Emma S.2.2.11

    Great review and comments. I did not think that Awesome's awesome was killed (murdered as you put it). I agree it was diminished some after Operation Awesome, but the guy went through a near-death situation (for us to get Shaw (*cue pitchforks*)).

    I do have to say that Chuck only told him to call if anything was wrong and he didn't specify (much) as to what would happen if he did. Having a baby is a pretty big moment for anyone and I think his over-reacting was great, especially for his character. And for Ellie to be the calm one made it that much funnier, to me at least. I do agree with everything else though.

    Did you guys notice when Chuck and Morgan was questioning the correct guy that in one shot his hand ties were connected to the right of the screen and the next shot it was connected to the left then back to right again? I found that really funny.

    I did the episode though, and I got teary from the emotions from YZ at the end.

    GIF's should not have you questioning your heterosexuality. Time to go look at Matt Bomer strip for an hour.

  4. Ayefah2.2.11

    A minor miracle of this episode: My Chuck-watching buddy, who hates babies and thinks they all look like cabbages, actually wasn't repulsed by Baby Clara. She posited that the little baby hat may have helped.

    The thing about Awesome losing his awesome is that it kind of negates a big reason Ellie is with him in the first place - his steadiness and reliability, which make him the exact opposite of her flaky parents. There were times in the past when Awesome wavered - even when it wasn't intentional, as with the bachelor party - but the whole point was that he would always be a steady presence. It's what made him the anti-Orion, in a good way.

  5. Greatest GIF ever.

    Despite the narrative flaws I'm really, really going to miss Dalton, you can slam the big picture writing for his character but the man himself was absolutely pitch perfect every scene of every episode. Between his work on this show and Hot Fuzz I really have to wonder how he never really had a worthy career after Bond, he's a terrific comedic actor.

  6. Security! You forgot to mention security! Because apparently Volkoff can have a dozen men outside the safehouse when going for Orion, and half a dozen men when finding out about Mary's betrayal, and another dozen men ready to kill Casey and Mary in a moment's notice...and yet Chuck and Morgan can slip onto a ship—which, may I point out, was there solely because Volkoff was feeling paranoid about getting the love of his life taken from him—and walk around without a single. Freaking. Guard. In sight.

    Anyways, that was probably my biggest pet peeve about the episode. That being said, I still enjoyed it. Would've been bummed if that's how the series ended, but thank goodness that's not the case. Looking forward to seeing Roan again next week!

    Also (and I may get metaphorically shot by everyone for this), I think I may have been the only one who rolled my eyes at the belly dancing scene. Not because Yvonne didn't look amazing in it, but because of COURSE they're gonna throw that in there right after Sarah says that she'll never dress as a belly dancer.

    ...I will admit, though, that GIF is oddly mesmerizing when it's put on a loop.

  7. I don't think you guys have a rep for being harsh. In fact I think your opinions and complaints about the show are in line with the majority of fans. The difference is they let them slide if an episode ends in a good place for Chuck and Sarah.

    If this episode had ended differently with no proposal and some kind of rough patch between the two I doubt the episode would be getting glowing reviews. The problems you had would be dominating Chuck sites.

  8. alladinsgenie4u2.2.11

    @Frea and mxpw - Loved the review. As always, the back and forth sarcastic banter made it really enjoyable. :)

    @Crystal - "of COURSE they're gonna throw that in there right after Sarah says that she'll never dress as a belly dancer."

    Ahem! I believe she told Chuck " I will not at any point during this mission be dressing as a belly dancer" She didn't say anything about a private display for Chuck at their house. ;)

    But I digress, that GIF is too captivating. Now I wonder what would happen if there is an actual 1 min performance of belly dancing by Sarah in the episode.

  9. alladinsgenie4u2.2.11

    @Frea and mxpw - Can I request an overall look at episodes 4x01 through 4x13 in one giant MxpwvsFrea review ? It would be an awesome way to look at the first thirteen episodes in totality. Thanks. :)

  10. Rykeile, I find that the minion's pain and suffering makes the popcorn taste sweeter. Also, it's Kettle Korn.

    Emma, I think the problem is that Awesome's overreacting in this episode has been compounded by two seasons in which Awesome has pretty consistently grated at my nerves, so my aggravation in this episode was pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back.

    Ayefah, let it be decreed -- any time Clara is on screen, she shall wear a hat. Hear, hear.

    JohnClark, I don't really think Dalton is going anywhere.

    JC, I'm just covering our bases. We've gotten some unsavory attention ever since our review of Balcony and the responses to it, so I thought I would get my blanket statement out of the way now, and now we never have to worry about it ever again. I'm a very "kill two birds with one stone" sort of person, if you ignore the fact that I don't kill birds and my aim is worse than a Stormtrooper's. But thank you!

    Genie, I'm sorry, what are these 4x01-4x13 you speak of? There's only been one episode of Chuck this season.

    *goes to replay Phase Three*

  11. alladinsgenie4u2.2.11

    "Genie, I'm sorry, what are these 4x01-4x13 you speak of? There's only been one episode of Chuck this season.
    *goes to replay Phase Three* "

    Succinct, are we? :) "Kill 12 episodes with one line" sort of person ? ;)

  12. @Frea

    I get the need to cover you bases I just wish it wasn't necessary for you guys. You make valid points and I hate when people call it nitpicking. If they fixed some of the issues you bring up the show would be so much better. I guess some people can't understand being able to criticize and love something at the same time.

  13. mxpw3.2.11

    I could stare at that gif for hours. In fact, I was looking at it for most of the podcast earlier...

    Aaaanyway, I did enjoy this episode but man, Sarah's lack of growth really did harsh my buzz. Her entire arc was pointless! Ahhh!

    Deep breaths. I just gotta remember to take deep breaths.

    I think that was my main problem with this arc. Well, that and I still didn't care about Mary by the end. It was a good thing they had Linda Hamilton playing her or else the whole thing probably would have been a total disaster.

    Oh, and it looks like Genie might just get his wish. There may be a season recap on the way soon. Though just a warning, Phase Three will probably get the lion's share of the attention.

  14. Season recap: podcast or mxpw vs. Frea?

  15. coffeegirl3.2.11

    its always fun reading your reviews, mx and frea, especially when i'm at work and bored.

    i loved the episode over all even though it made 'the gobbler' pointless. especially the 'distance' drama.

    and regarding the belly dancing scene: this is a good year for SWP right? a gay friend of mine said that while "Sarah's hips don't lie" (yeah bad joke but that's what he said) it was the look that she gave chuck that made YS #1 on his i'd-go-totally-straight-for-you list

  16. coffeegirl3.2.11

    and mx, weren't you inspired to update banality with that gif? or too busy staring at it?

  17. I'm with coffeegirl's gay friend....err wait... I AGREE with coffeegirl's gay friend, as hot as the hips, and tummy, is/are its whats going on from the neck up that makes that GIF so INSANELY HOT.

    @Frea - I'm afraid I think Dalton will wind up like Jordana Brewster, locked away forever or at least until they need to go visit him for some sort of information. Either way as incredible as it would be for Dalton to become a regular or even consistent recurring character from here on out I don't think the writers could A. afford it or B. come up with semi-intelligent plot reasons for it.

  18. Er, OD, it's probably going to be mxpw vs. Frea. :)

    John Clark: Yeahhhhhh, I don't think the first is really a problem as much as it used to be, with NBC tanking so many shows badly, and for the second, didn't really stop them the first time. Schwedak's got too much of a mancrush on Dalton to let him go, which isn't a problem unlike some previous actors, as Dalton is fantastic. Here's hoping they DO come up with better plot reasons on his second go-round, though.

  19. Not only we have to thank Casey for his super-healing skills but also for his offspring. Without Alex, Chuck and Morgan would still be wondering what “pants” could possibly mean.

    The pacing was AWFUL. Most of the scenes were way too long. Which is sad because there are so many things in that episode that I wanted to see, and individually those scenes weren’t bad, but I don’t know, I never really got into the episode, I guess. At some point I was like, so that’s it? No big twist, no big fight?

    I like that Ellie inspired Chuck once again: "Chuck and I do anything for family". And I kind was happy for her that everybody was there for her in the end. She basically was prepared to do this alone (with what’s left of Captain Awesome, i.e. not much), like she’s done everything for most of her life. So I was happy to see that they all made it for Baby Clara. (Loved the line: “But you’re not due yet. What is baby Clara thinking?”)

    I also liked that they brought Orion back into the story and the scene “-Are you family? –Yes!” :)

    I’m really disappointed with what they made of Sarah in that episode. She didn’t have enough scenes, and in most of them she’s not doing anything. Why on earth would she be waiting hands in her pockets while Morgan is yoga-ing lasers? She used to put Chuck out of those situations all the time. And did they cut part of her scene with Casey at the end? It looked like she was going to say or do something after he said “glad you’re back”. At least the knives were back…

    I disagree that Sarah going undercover was pointless though. Mary wasn’t in touch with the CIA like Sarah was. Being there she accelerated the process, and without what Mary and Sarah figured out about Hydra, Chuck wouldn’t have done anything. It was ridiculous that Mary had to lecture her though. But I don’t see Sarah going undercover has a bad thing. Sure she may have lost Chuck in the process but they could never have had the life they wanted with Volkoff still being a threat anyway.

    The proposal was indeed perfect. After “Feeling good”, LeJudkins definitely know how to end an episode.

    I liked a lot of the episode but it felt unbalanced. Not the best Chuck episode ever that’s for sure.

  20. About the "those jerks that don't like the show and seem determined to ruin it for everybody else" thing, that's just ridiculous and sad. I like to know what you guys liked and didn't like and why, especially when I didn't feel the same way.

  21. I wasn’t able to watch Push Mix until yesterday and didn’t really start reading reviews and reactions until today. To be honest, I enjoyed the episode. Actually, I’ve enjoyed just about all of them this season, even Balcony. But you see, I never saw Chuck as that “bright, could-get-a-scholarship” slacker student. I’ve always seen it as slightly unbelievable (really, a computer in your brain?) very enjoyable, good escapist fun - my definition of must see TV. My expectation is that I will be entertained and this season I have been.

    There have always been plot holes, there have always been scenes that have been glossed over – I don’t need to bring them up as I’m reminded of them regularly on other fan sites. This episode really was very representative of the series – it did all the things the show does wrong and all the things it does right. For now, I’m going to concentrate on the right stuff.

    I didn’t have issues with “teleportation”. I mention this because when I first watched the episode I noticed that the car Volkoff and the ladies got out of to get on The Contessa had California plates. And since Volkoff had to get off the ship to drive to Orion’s cabin, I’m pretty sure that it was docked. I’ll go on believing it was docked in LA. I would never have known about the distance between UC Irvine and Echo Park if you hadn’t mentioned it and the subsequent revelation doesn’t phase me.

    In this episode, Chuck was smart and Chuck was a hero. Finally! This is the one part of the show that I haven’t enjoyed this season, and to see it unfold as it did was, well, awesome. True, the other characters took on more of a supporting role. This was Chuck’s episode and on this show, that means everyone else takes a back seat.

    Morgan was funny. Although I too thought the scene in the lasers went on a little too long, I just watched it again with my daughter, the other Chuck fan in the house, and she giggled at Morgan the frog with his wet flippers still on and laughed uncontrollably as Morgan “yoga’d” his way through the lasers.

    She also audibly “aawwwwed” during all the Casey scenes. I asked if she thought Casey may be recuperating too fast and she said, “Dad, its Chuck. How else would it happen?” She also cringed and giggled over Jeffster’s performance, the reaction I’m pretty sure the show strives for with these two.

    And she was speechless during the proposal, mouth wide-open, eyes popping out, followed by an “Oh. My. God. That. Was. Perfect” when the scene ended. And it was. We got the fancy eloquent version of that speech in Balcony, and this time chuck was just blunt ah I mean vulnerable and honest.

    After the week I had, this episode was perfect. And it got better the second time around. Please don’t think I don’t like plot resolution, tighter scripting and pacing, fair and equal characterizations, some sense of reality in a story. I do. That’s why I read Fates! ;-)

    Hope you two keep reviewing! Thanks!

  22. mxpw3.2.11

    @coffeegirl - I like your friend. He was right, the expression on her face...oh boy. Very hot. And yeah, you have no idea how distracting that gif is. I told Frea last night that I was trying to do homework but the gif made that very difficult. I don't know how my writing will survive it.

    @crumby - Agree with you about how disappointing it was that Sarah didn't really do anything in Push Mix. Morgan got more screentime than she did, I think. But then that's been true of large parts of this season, so I guess I was used to it.

    I think we will just have to disagree on whether or not Sarah going undercover was pointless, though. Sarah may have accelerated things, though I think that's only because her getting involved meant Chuck got involved, and she may have learned about Hydra, but since she made no attempt to actually tell Chuck about Hydra, I don't really count that. In my opinion, at my most generous, Sarah's entire role was to play a courier, and not a very good one at that. She wasn't even the one who broke Yuri out of prison. Chuck and Casey and Morgan did that. Again, she was just the delivery person.

    As for it being necessary for Volkoff to go down for them to have a future... I am not that convinced. I blame the writing, mostly, but even still, I think that's really like a cutting your nose off to spite your face kind of situation. Yeah, Volkoff's dead or in jail, but what does it matter if Sarah has no family to come back to? It's like she secured their future, but by the time that future was ready to be lived, it was already gone.

    Like, I must admit, after Gobbler, I was really tempted to write a one-shot where Sarah spends years undercover taking down Volkoff. She finally succeeds and rushes back home to Burbank to discover that Chuck has either become his father or he's moved on and gotten married, deciding not to waste his life waiting for her.

    No, I was not in a morbid or depressing mood, why do you ask?

  23. @mxpw - Sarah did talk about the CIA about Hydra, that's how they knew about The Contessa.

    I blame Leftovers. :) They didn't make a good enough job at showing us they were in danger.

    Yeah, Volkoff's dead or in jail, but what does it matter if Sarah has no family to come back to?

    It matters because Chuck is safe? What is the point of having a husband if he's dead?

    Whether it was pointless or not, it wasn't really well played...

  24. @Crumby

    How'd Mary disappearing for twenty years work out for Stephen in the end? Does she have her husband to come home to?

    At least Chuck realized his father's approach was wrong and went at Volkoff head on. Sarah was more than happy to follow Mary's path and saw nothing wrong with it. They wanted to show regret and humanity for Mary and unfortunately Sarah's character suffers once again.

  25. coffeegirl3.2.11

    i actually enjoyed the gobbler when i first saw it but in relation to push mix i'm just wondering why the writers did what they did. but that's just me. did that make sense. i'm sorry english is not my first language and i'm having a hard time expressing myself.

    anyway, YS is no longer #1 on my friends list. he saw an interview where YS said that she has a crush on matthew morrison. and as support to me who definitely hates MM and his alter ego mr schue she is just #3 now (after the black swan ladies).

  26. @JC - To be fair Orion's death had nothing to do with Volkoff. The Ring and Shaw killed him.

    But I agree that Sarah's character suffered from that storyline, and I'm not defending it. The thing is that they failed with this. They didn't give us a proper resolution once again.

  27. "OD, it's probably going to be mxpw vs. Frea. :)"

    Understood that from the get go, just saying the two of you should do it in a podcast instead of a written piece.

  28. DuckB4.2.11

    Of course y'all are nitpicky. We all are. How could we call ourselves fans if we aren't willing to complain.

    The real issue though is that you guys are writers. Stories are what you do so you are more likely to notice when that part goes wrong. I'm and the same way with the stunts and gadgets as an engineer but luckly for me we have an Emmy winning stunt team so my complaints are limited.

    Seriously though if people are complaining about your complaining, why are they still reading. Its obvious that you still care enough to watch the show in spite of mistakes.

  29. Looking forward to a mxpw vs Frea mid-season review.
    The written word is your vehicle and you use it well!

  30. This comment was posted by Stephen. I've removed the spoilers and am reposting it. Please DO NOT POST SPOILERS ON THE MXPW VS. FREA THREADS.



    Firstly let me say that although I disagree a lot with you I love reading your column. I watch Chuck as a Fan and I want to enjoy the episodes and to me this series has delivered as I have really liked nearly all of them thus far. I am not watching it as a 'critic' I am not a writer like Frea and Mxpw so I very rarely look at things and imagine how it could have been done better. That is not to say that I think everything is perfect and you bring up some Valid points in your review and comments.

    You are obviously unhappy about the lack of Sarah in this episode and if you are thinking screen time I think you would be correct as she had quite a small screen time but i enjoyed what she did mostly. I would have preferred that when she is with Mary she says they need to take Volkoff down so she can get back to Chuck. That it had not been Casey to reveal that Hydra was in his pants I can understand her not talking to Chuck as it makes it easier for her to cope as she misses him, but as she is communicating with Beckman that that it had come pout that way.

    @JC I must admit I dont think Sarahs Character was harmed by this as she told Chuck that she had to go back to her old self, and the fact that she was doing it to get His mother for Him and Ellie is not something that she really needs to apologise for. It is another case of her showing him that she will do anything for Him. I would personally prefer Chuck to apologise to her for thinking that she had gone bad, but then he should apologise for the Hannah thing last year and also being fine with her being in danger when he would not let Jill deliver a speech in S2. Sarah should of course apologise about telling a tree her real name.

    This Season has definately been more about Morgans development and Sarahs than really about Chucks so it was great to see Chuck man up but it was only to get Sarah so although you say that Sarah going undercover it was necesary to get the intel out the eyeball, that lead to the scientist and it was Sarah who found out about the Contessa and then of course in the end she did as she promised and got Mary out. I dont think that Chuck would have done all this if it was just his Mum that needed bringing home

    We have known for weeks that only some of the points that have been bought up in season 4 would be wound up (the birth and the proposal were obvious) so I have hope that we will find out more about Volkoffs aims, and Marys 20 year mission. SPOILER REMOVED. My one complaint bwould particularly love some development as the whole Intersectless Chuck story was not used just to show how far Sarah would go to rescue Chuck and although that was a superb episode he could have been captured in other ways and had some other way of not giving up the intersect. Would have been improved if he had actually done some proper spy training at the time.

    And seriously I dont understand complaints about the hole teleportation thing as except for the 2 days earlier reference for the in media res begining of Gobbler there is very little reference in the episode to how much time is actually passing. 5 mins of screen time is not 5 mins of actual time.

    I also must admit people complaining about plot lines left up in the air should check Lost out that finale was 3 years in the making and still failed miserably.

  31. Stephen, may I recommend some apostrophes? I'm not being anally grammatical here, I'm just thinking they'll really make people take you more seriously in writing.

    But moving on:

    We're Sarah fans, and any episode with very little Sarah screentime is always going to be disappointing, but this was Chuck's episode, so to see his spine again, I don't actually mind Sarah's reduced role. Sarah, after all, has gotten way more screentime than she did earlier in the series.

    But that's really not my problem with Sarah's plotline in Gobbler leading into Push Mix. The whole plotline had issues from the start, as it was mired in something that didn't make sense to me: that Mary, who obviously had a lot of agency in the fact that she was Volkoff's trusted right hand minion for twenty years, never used either her brilliant computer designer husband or any of her other old contacts to try and take Volkoff down from the inside. The fact that Sarah and Team B could come in and within a couple of months disable Volkoff makes Mary seem rather ineffectual, which was the same problem with Shaw.

    So before Sarah even arrives on the scene, that's a problem.

    And then you have the ending of Gobbler, which could have led to some interesting character development and movement: Chuck doubting, Sarah going to the Dark Side (Peter Bishop says hi). They built up this ending all, "Oh NOES! Sarah's going to turn Chuck aside!"

    Five minutes into Push Mix, everything is hunky-dory again. If it were the first time this has happened, it wouldn't be as awful, but it's a repeat symptom, as you mentioned in your own comment. For me, it's to the point where it's hard to care about any character movement or choice because they're just going to turn it around within five minutes.

    So why should Chuck apologize for doubting her for five minutes? She was the one that turned down the message, and he didn't hold it against her at all. Also, as the plotline happened, neither of them had anything to apologize for because it ended up not mattering at all.

    Let’s say I accept the fact that Sarah had to be there to take down Volkoff: don’t expect me to think Mary’s good at anything, in that case. With an explanation that made more sense or more of a sense of danger, that would be great. But I never really saw either of those.

    I don’t have as many problems with Sarah’s plotline as Maximus, mostly because I don’t really care. She got dragged around by the plot again, so... *shrugs*. For the most part, I was just happy to see the knife show up again and I liked her going in and working with Mary to take down that server room full of guards. Also, the fact that she gave Morgan her jacket and that she considers Ellie family. Her plotline? Yeah, really don’t care.


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