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Eleanor Faye Woodcomb

Ellie.jpg

Seasons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Portrayed by: Sarah Lancaster
Status: Active
Occupation: Doctor at Westside Medical
Aliases: Ellie (diminutive)
Mrs. Awesome (Devon, season 4)
Hot Mama (Devon, season 5)
Relatives: Devon Woodcomb (husband)
Clara Woodcomb (daughter)
Stephen Bartowski (father, deceased)
Mary Bartowski (mother)
Chuck Bartowski (brother)
Jesse Gunter (maternal grandfather)
Mary Gunter (maternal grandmother)
Sarah Walker (sister in law)
Woody and Honey Woodcomb (parents in law)
Relationships:
Residence: Echo Park, Burbank, CA
Appearances: All
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I just know what an incredible guy Charles Bartowski is, and sometimes I'm not so sure that he knows it.
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Eleanor Faye "Ellie" Woodcomb, née Bartowski, M.D. Ph.D., is a main character, the elder sister of Chuck Bartowski, and the wife of Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb in the television series Chuck. She is portrayed by Sarah Lancaster.

Biography[]

Young Ellie.jpg

In the Pilot, Chuck (Zachary Levi) is shown to be sharing an apartment with his sister and her boyfriend, little else was known about the Bartowski family initially. It was eventually revealed that their mother left them when Ellie was in the eighth grade, and their usually preoccupied father was "never really there." It was Ellie who balanced the checkbook for the family.[1] Their father abruptly left home, too, several years later, initially staying in touch with cards, but finally going silent. Ellie and Chuck, because of their family dynamic, had an unusually strong bond. Essentially, Ellie raised her brother, a fact he acknowledges in Chuck Versus the Ring , and for most of their lives, Chuck and Ellie felt they could rely only on each other.*

Ellie attended and graduated from UCLA medical school, where she met her future husband, Devon Woodcomb. They began dating on the first day of medical school when they met and immediately missed their first class in favor of a make out session in a broom closet. Devon gave her a green sweater and said it was meant for her as the color matched her eyes.[2]

When Chuck was expelled from Stanford University in 2003, he returned to Echo Park and moved in with Ellie and Devon.[3]. After coming home, Ellie became one of Chuck's main sources of support as he recovered from Bryce Larkin's betrayal, orchestrating Chuck's expulsion, as well as apparently stealing his girlfriend, Jill Roberts. Part of that support is shown in the opening scene of the series, which has Ellie throwing a birthday party for Chuck and inviting a number of “real live women” for Chuck to meet in hopes that he will move past Jill.

After Chuck inadvertently becomes a government asset, it is made clear that Ellie must remain ignorant of the fact in order to protect her. She is, therefore, initially kept in the dark about her brother's clandestine activities. It is not until Chuck Versus the Subway, when the secret becomes impossible to keep any longer, that she is finally initiated into the clandestine past of the Bartowski family and the Intersect. Devon becomes one of Chuck's secret keepers long before Ellie, and trying to distance his beloved wife from Chuck's dangerous life, drove him to distraction.

Ellie and Chuck

In Chuck Versus the Tic Tac, Devon convinces Ellie to join Doctors Without Boarders with him, so that he can distance them from the “spy life.” The couple was posted to Africa, putting on hold an offered fellowship in Neurology at USC, something she had wanted since childhood. Chuck's world in the form of The Ring, however, follows her, in hopes of manipulating her into revealing the whereabouts of long missing her father, Stephen, and simulates an attack of malaria in Devon so the couple is forced to return to the US for treatment.

After she helps rescue her brother and his team from the Ring, she asks him to give up the spy life so that she knows he is safe. He keeps it from her when he is forced to return to the CIA, because she is pregnant, and he wants he to be happy and not worried about him.

After the birth of daughter, Clara, and reconciliation with her mother, both she and Devon are wooed by a Chicago hospital, and by the series finale, they are planning on making the move to the Midwest.

Place in the Series[]

Ellie appears in the series from the first scene, establishing herself as a very important person in Chuck's life, someone who tries to make him live up to his potential, but is occasionally frustrated with his lack of ambition.[4] She remains one of the most important anchors for Chuck and his real life throughout the series, and her safety is always one of the foremost concerns for Chuck. When Chuck discovered John Casey had bugged the home he shared with Ellie, he was prepared to threaten Casey if he found out he was spying on her as well.[2]

Bartowski family hug

When Chuck's permanent extraction by the government appeared imminent, he made a point of telling her goodbye, and later asked Sarah to tell her something to make his disappearance seem "okay," to tell her he loved her.[5]

Most of Ellie's appearances in the series have been as part of the side-plots involving Chuck's real life and co-workers at the Buy More, she has only rarely figured into the main story arc. A significant role in the main plot of an episode came in Chuck Versus the Truth, in which Ellie attempted to treat nuclear expert Mason Whitney when he was poisoned by Riordan Payne. When Whitney later died, Payne, disguised as a police officer taking a statement, exposed Ellie to the same toxin he used on Whitney to find if she knew where he hid his nuclear codes. Ellie nearly died as a result of the poisoning until Chuck administered the antidote to her over taking it himself. Although she was in a coma during at the time, Ellie became the first person Chuck told about his secret life.[2]

She was also among the hostages in the Buy More when Ned Rhyerson crashed his car into the store while evading the police. For her sake, Chuck convinced Devon not to go through with a plan to overwhelm Ned, and later identified himself as the Intersect to Mauser to prevent him from killing her. The bracelet Chuck gave to Sarah in that episode was a charm bracelet Stephen Bartowski gave to their mother when Ellie was born.[6]

Throughout the series, Ellie encourages Chuck, and pushes him to leave the Buy More and doing something more ambitious and suitable to his level of ability and intelligence.[7] After Chuck expressed misgivings about his relationship with Sarah, she encourages him to break up with her, before Morgan reminds her that Sarah is the best thing that happened to him in a long time.[8] She was ecstatic when Chuck announces he is moving out and that he and Sarah would be getting a place together, but did not have a chance to react when Chuck later abruptly changed his mind.[9]

Devon proposed to Ellie at the end of Chuck Versus the Marlin, and she accepted. This began a secondary arc throughout the second season, covering the preparations for the wedding.

Stephen and Chuck give the bride away

Ellie's regret that her father would not be there to give her away led Chuck to promise that their father would be there, and then tried to track him down.[10] With Sarah's help, he was eventually successful. Stephen led his daughter down the aisle with Chuck on her other arm, and she married Devon in the second season finale.

A recurring thread in the series is the relationship she has with Chuck's best friend, Morgan Grimes. Morgan has been in love with Ellie since middle school, but in the Pilot, Ellie, still on high school time, can barely tolerate him. As the series progresses, however, and they mature, she and Morgan come to form their own peculiar friendship, partly owing to them bonding over an “I miss Chuck” moment after Chuck's spy life begins to interfere with his real life.[1] Morgan also offers her support and comfort during a fight with Devon, where he admits he sees her as a sister.[11] Morgan's first serious girlfriend, Anna, immediately takes a dislike to Ellie because of Morgan's long-standing crush.[12]

In Chuck Versus Phase Three, Ellie finds a version of the Intersect on Stephen Bartowski's laptop, and re-codes it to be compatible with the human brain. Her solving the problem allows Chuck to download a new version of the Intersect 2.0 after their mother suppressed the previous version.

In Chuck Versus the Cat Squad Ellie accepts Sarah's invitation to be the matron of honor at her wedding.

Mother Issues[]

Throughout the series, Ellie's feelings toward her mother are deeply confused, both loving her and hating her. When their mother disappeared just days after young Chuck broke her favorite necklace, he worried it was his fault, and Ellie later confessed she hated Mary for making Chuck feel like that. When Stephen was finally convinced to return home by Chuck, Ellie vented her anger about his broken promise about pancakes for dinner rather than his leaving them. Stephen, though, had at least taught both Chuck and Ellie on how to take care of each other.

Mary, Devon, Ellie, and Baby Clara

When Mary returned to the family and visits Ellie in the Season Four episode Chuck Versus the First Fight, Ellie did not show much to trust her. Eventually, however, once the trauma of her return lessens and the reasons for the disappearance explained, by Chuck Versus the Push Mix, Ellie is happy to have her arrive in time to witness the birth of her grand-daughter, Clara Woodcomb. In Chuck Versus the Seduction Impossible, Ellie seems pleased that Mary is spending most of her time watching over Clara, but concerned if being a full time grandmother is what Mary wants. She told Mary she had made Chuck quite the CIA, believing his resignation was still in force, and didn't want to stop another member of the family from pursuing such important work. Once Ellie was made aware of Mary's spy life, and understood that there had been a reason that her mother had not been in her life, she appeared very forgiving and accepting, glad that her mother was back in her life.


Development[]

Sarah Lancaster was cast in the role of Ellie Bartowski in March, 2007,[13] joining Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin and Yvonne Strahovski. On January 16, 2009 it was announced that Scott Bakula would be appearing as Chuck and Ellie's father Stephen in a three-episode story.[14]

Personality[]

Ellie is kind and compassionate. Ironically, considering that Chuck's secret life has led him to save Ellie's on at least two occasions, she still plays the role of the over-protective older sister and usually still sees him as her baby brother. She frequently offers Chuck encouragement and advice on women in general, and his relationship with Sarah in particular. Although unaware of the truth of that relationship, Ellie is one of the first people to recognize that Sarah's interest in Chuck is genuine.[15] She was immediately concerned when Chuck ran into Jill again and was meeting her for dinner, “Jill? No! No, no, no! Absolutely not! There is no scenario in which you should be going to dinner with the girl that dumped you, broke your heart, and slept with your best friend!”[16] Sometimes she can be pushy, as seen in the pilot, trying to get Chuck to live up to his potential or trying to eliminate Morgan from her plans. She immediately took a liking to Sarah, however, and she enjoys Casey's company, "He's so sweet!" and is the only character who refers to him by first name.[12]

Ellie and Awesome

After Chuck, the most important person in Ellie's life is her husband, Devon Woodcomb. She is the only character who never refers to him as "Captain Awesome," and in the Pilot actually tells Chuck not to call him that. She did, however, refer to his parents as the "Very Awesomes" when they were planning a visit.[17]Although usually calm and collected, Ellie is greatly intimidated during a visit from Devon's parents, and was quickly driven to frustration by Honey Woodcomb's interference with the wedding plans.[10] Although she truly loves him dearly, under the effects of truth serum, angrily complained about his frequent use of the word "awesome," and what she felt as moments of neglect of her feelings in the relationship.[2] Ellie later accuses him of being self-centered because he disregards that she wanted a a big-screen television when he bought a washer and dryer for their anniversary.[11]

She was deeply disturbed by her perception of Devon's bachelor party, after seeing incriminating photographs taken by Lester of an unconscious Devon with Agent Forrest who was dressed as a cop-themed stripper.[18] She was hurt, and believed Chuck and Morgan covered up willful actions taken by Devon during the party. It wasn't until she was made privy to Chuck's secret life and the spy world that the events of the party were explained to her.

In Chuck Versus the Subway, she witnessed her father's murder and Chuck's abduction. She rallied Devon and Morgan and the three of them followed and rescued Team Bartowski from Shaw. She then demanded that once Chuck took down Shaw, he quit the CIA. She could not keep her promise to protect him if he had that job, and although he initially agreed, and did quit, he was compelled to rejoin later. When he decided he could no longer lie to Ellie about it, she anticipated him, realizing he was still a spy, “Clearly you're made for better things than the Buy More.”

By the finale, she takes steps to try and re-task the last Intersect to restore memories rather than instill skills, “It's going to take a few days, but I can reprogram them for Sarah.” Although her efforts become moot, she is still active in supporting Chuck, and does what she can to help her brother be happy.

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Chuck Versus the Truth"
  3. "Chuck Versus the Alma Mater"
  4. "Chuck Versus the Intersect"
  5. "Chuck Versus the Marlin"
  6. "Chuck Versus Santa Claus"
  7. "Chuck Versus the First Date"
  8. "Chuck Versus the Beefcake"
  9. "Chuck vs. the Lethal Weapon"
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Chuck Versus The Sensei"
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Chuck Versus the Undercover Lover"
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Chuck Versus the Nemesis"
  13. Development Update: Friday, March 16, The Futon Critic
  14. Cast Update: January 16, Zap2It.com
  15. "Chuck Versus the Tango"
  16. "Chuck Versus the Ex"
  17. "Chuck Versus the Gravitron"
  18. "Chuck vs. the Broken Heart"


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