Feelings… Nothing More Than, Feelings…
Our friend and commenter, Ernie D., has started a great conversation on the NBC boards. I do believe that the starting point is the scene we’re so familiar with, in vs. The Ring, where Sarah (finally) tells Chuck that she’s going off with Bryce in the morning. It’s so easy to empathize with the boy then.
There are other scenes like that. One that comes to mind immediately is in vs. Crown Vic when she angrily “apologizes” to Chuck for violently kissing him at the end of Hard Salami as the “bomb” is about to explode. It was a mistake that she won’t repeat, she tells him. Actually, she spits it out. You get the idea that she’s not too concerned about hurting Chuck at that moment.
And boy, does she hurt him in The Ring. So the question is (and correct me if the nuances are wrong here), is Sarah’s treatment of Chuck in any way justified? Is there something in her character that makes this plausible, and if so, is there a reason she hasn’t she grown out of it yet? Are the events of the 24 episodes between those two scenes sufficient to say that Sarah’s got her reasons for (even temporarily) going off with Bryce? Or are we seeing something that’s in the story merely for the purpose of prolonging viewer – darst I say it? – angst?
When I re-read that last paragraph, I see my own biases showing, even after the 3rd re-write. We know about Sarah’s unusual childhood, and the way this affected her. By her own admission, Sarah hates talking about her past and is poor at expressing her feelings. It’s even hard for her to express anger, holding it in until the explosion. She always finds it difficult to commit fully to something new, whether it’s to the CIA, Bryce (thinking of when he returned), or most especially, Chuck. Reflexively, Sarah would rather stay where she is, and is full of fear when change is necessary. And Sarah’s reaction to fear is not paralysis, but lashing out. She confronts it head-on, whether it’s an alarm clock buzzing in a new day, Jill, Cole or Casey. (Hum… One exception. She never confronts General Beckman directly.) All this shows that I’m biased to thinking that Sarah’s non-explanation to Chuck for leaving him is within character, heart wrenching, but not head snapping and certainly not final. Her evolution and growth are in her nod “no” to Bryce and in what’s coming in season 3.
Of course, YMMV! In the comments, Ernie expresses it well, as usual.
You and I have opposite views of Sarah’s in the Ring. I generally think she’s progressed past a certain point largely because her emotional involvement with Chuck has helped her understand and get over some of her obviously damaging past. You seem to be of the opinion that her inability to open up shows she is still pretty damaged and still needs a lot more growth and healing before she can really trust someone enough to open up and expose herself to more potential heartbreak.
Well, yes! Except maybe that it’s not “a lot more” growth. I think by the scene where she’s about to tell Chuck exactly what it is she wants, Sarah is right there.
Our friend and Chuck expert par excellance!, Old Darth, has gotten my take exactly right too, when he writes I think Sarah is on the cusp ie she is in a place between where Joe thinks Sarah is – is that your take Joe? and is ready to move to the place that Ernie is describing.That is, Sarah is moving away from her comfort zone, haltingly. I think she already has, despite her initial acceptance of the new intersect mission and rejection of – Chuck. We may continue struggling to see that movement, though.
All this ties into some of the thoughts expressed in the “What do we want to see in S3?” thread. If Sarah continues to waffle between her duty and her heart, I’m going to be disappointed for as long as that continues. Because I’m into the techniques and mechanics of story telling, I’ll be disappointed because it is indeed stuff we’ve seen before. Since I think that Sarah’s past that now, that is a regression in the character, not an evolution or maturation at all. In a word, it would be BORING!
Needless to say, I’m not too concerned. The creative talent has seen to it that the characters move forward, if not always in a straight line, and that applies to Sarah too. Backwards steps have either proven illusory or temporary, I think. And like Ernie correctly points out, they can serve to “humanize” characters (human beings are nothing if not inconsistent). It’s been the breaks, even breaks as short as one week, that give the impression of permanence when we see backsliding at the end of an episode. I’m of the opinion that the only true disagreement between the real fans of the show is the pace, not the fact, of Chuck and Sarah’s deepening relationship, and it’s a reasonable disagreement to have!
Like anybody, Sarah’s allowed to change her mind. As sexist as it sounds today, my generation grew up understanding that this was a women’s prerogative. If Sarah was real, I wouldn’t hold it against her too much.
Now if only she knew something about music…