But that’s enough about Chuck and Sarah.
I pose a question to you, the reader. What’s more charming than Chuck realizing he’s not a loser? The answer is – Morgan.
Is Morgan in charge, in episode 3.05 of Chuck, First Class? No, but he is transformed. The single most consistently annoying character of the first two seasons of Chuck is now among the adults, and is, in a word, charming. Well, okay. Maybe you found Jeff more annoying. Or Lester. But Carina knows, now. Ellie saw it before anyone. He has certainly come into his own, and everybody seems to know that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Everyone but Chuck, that is. Why is Chuck leaving him to his own devices, to face the Buy Moronic Insurrection all by himself, a challenge he would never have to face if he was “one of them”, a lowly green shirt?
Who’s more charming than Chuck? Well, Casey, when he’s occupying himself doing something other than saving the world from baddies, or saving Chuck from himself. See how busy he is – in the Buy More? Hey, wait! Is this a cover? Casey seems to have come to like moving heavy appliances, and occasionally moonlighting as Morgan’s enforcer. In fact, it was Chuck who said the Buy More is now a “ridiculous cover”! To Casey, it doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous.
Well, why is Chuck leaving Morgan to fend for himself? It’s because Morgan can handle it now, and Chuck knows that he’s not so helpless as he was, and will do more than just survive the Buy Moron’s pranks. He will thrive. Eventually. If Lester and his “muscle”, Jeff, don’t kill him first. Or pants him.
It’s also because Chuck has a first class ticket to Paris. Shaw, the new “man in charge”, thinks that the team is dysfunctional, and it’s all the fault of Casey and Sarah. They haven’t let him out of the car, you see. He’s ready to go to Paris, to prove (Chuck looks at Casey) that he is (Chuck looks to Sarah) a spy.
Chuck: Shaw, an honest to God, real life, special agent for the CIA thinks I’m ready. He thinks that I can do it, and I want to prove to him that he’s not wrong about me.
Sarah: I’m not saying that you can’t do this, but please – please, just don’t go now, okay?. You need more time.
Protective much, Sarah? The team needs to be broken up, and Chuck needs to fly solo. It’s his first class in being a spy.
Morgan and Casey were charming. There is more than a little charm in the way Charles and Hannah meet, playing “What’s Their Line” with the passengers on the plane. “Tell me about yourself, Charles-my-friends-call-me-Chuck.”, she asks him, charmingly. Well, Chuck isn’t completely without charm, himself. And Hannah (Kristen Kreuk) is taken by him. This is a lady with a lot of class.
Oh-oh! What’s this? Is Chuck’s head turned completely around so easily again by a petite brunette? “WHAT ABOUT SARAH???” the fans shout. But this is not about Chuck and Sarah.
What Chuck has not been getting from Casey and Sarah isn’t appreciation or friendship or protection or guidance. Right now, it’s professional respect he’s missing.
Morgan: See that? See that? How do you do that? You command respect!
Casey: I don’t. I take it!
Chuck meets Hannah as Sinatra is playing. Any show that plays Sinatra music is first class. But Chuck still lies to Hannah about who and what he is. Cute, how she sees through him, and lets him off the hook, though. That’s more than what Shaw is going to do. This may be a first class flight, but this is also Chuck’s first class on self-reliance.
Shaw seems to know everything; about the ring, about Chuck and about the team. He also seems to have set Chuck up. His mission is not in Paris after all; it’s on the plane, with the Ring operative, Hugo Panzer (Steve Austin). Just like Devon was ordered by The Ring to get past the security guards and kill the man in the office at the end of the hall, Shaw has tasked Chuck with getting a cypher key from the Ring Agent. We see Sarah’s reaction to Chuck’s first mission instantly. She gets angry; angry at Shaw, both for endangering Chuck, and for putting her in a position where she cannot help him. Worse, Shaw yanks her chain by bringing up her felonious father. On top of that insult, he has to twist the dagger by interrogating Sarah about the three days she went off grid, in Lisbon.
Sarah: It’s not what you think.
Shaw: I don’t know what to think. Are you a double agent? A ring operative? Or is this about Chuck?
Ooohhhh this just got personal. So is Sarah being overprotective towards her asset? Is she acting all “mommy” on his butt? Shaw doesn’t think so.
Shaw: I’m right, aren’t I? I should tell you, I’m always right. It’s annoying, but true.
Sarah: Why don’t you tell me what you’re right about, so I can tell you that you’re wrong.
Shaw: My theory, about you and Chuck. Most spies push their assets to perform. That’s what I do. You protect him. You care for him. You followed him to Lisbon.
Sarah: That’s not true.
Shaw: Come-on. I was right about this mission, and I’m right about you.
But this is not about Chuck and Sarah. This is about Chuck becoming a spy. We can see that if Sarah is no longer lying to herself about her feelings for Chuck, she’s still not going to tell anyone else about them. To admit to Shaw that she has feeling for him would be too “real”, especially for this outsider. And Shaw won’t even let her answer the phone when Chuck calls. “Just know that if you do, he’ll never be a spy. And one day, that will get him killed.” Hum… It’s hard to imagine anyone ordering Sarah around, but Shaw does. He can because she knows he’s right.
At least, I hope she knows he’s right, because Chuck is actually coming into his own, on the plane. Sarah’s been worried that he’s not ready, and still unable to control his emotions so he could flash at will. But despite his girlish screams in the cargo hold (well, okay, the scream was Casey’s suggestion this time), Chuck DOES flash at will. He also takes a couple of solid punches to the gut, hides in a casket with a corpse and gets a dose of poisoned wine.
Sarah (trying to identify the poison): Chuck! What does it tastes like??
Chuck: It was very complex, with hints of apple and A VERY SOUR FINISH!
And in a scene reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Arc, Chuck never does get to use his nunchaku. All in a day’s work, you know.
Chuck was given a bigger mission than Shaw expected. Serina (Josie Davis), the stewardess, is also a Ring agent. In a spy-plot line that was so very close to what was used only one night later on NCIS, the second assassin on the plane is deadlier than the first, and it’s not clear at all that Shaw was aware of her presence in advance. That means he’s not infallible. The good news is that Shaw never sends his agents out alone. It’s a mistake he made once, and one he won’t make again. The new boss and Sarah are with Chuck through the magic of satellite com-links, Sarah’s pilot skills (we found out in Helicopter that she’s flown them) and a game-controller in Castle. Cool! The flight crew never knew we were there! he says. It may be the horsiest plot device seen this week (or maybe not), but it had me grinning with satisfaction.
Just how is it that Shaw knew Serina and her penchant for using poisons?
Chuck’s not so helpless as Sarah seems to think. All this mission, Sarah has been worrying, even begging him not to go. In fact, Chuck has to reassure her, several times. Why such a lack of confidence? Is Chuck too glitchy, or is it that she cares just too much? Shaw wants to know. I think Sarah wants to know too. Is there something else she’s worried about? – Like maybe the three days she went off grid?
Shaw demands to know about that. But even as Sarah is worrying and fretting about “her” agent (yes, that’s what she calls Chuck at one point), Chuck is making a new friend on the plane, one who seems to enjoy his stories and one who gains his trust pretty quickly. It’s a good thing that Chuck is able to stay on the plane and go back home when he’s called, even if he is understandably regretful about the might-have-beens. When Chuck gets back, he’s appropriate grateful that Shaw and especially Sarah were there to save his life. He’s not unmindful of what she’s done. Sarah’s a pro, after all.
Chuck’s mission was to return a cypher key to a hi-tech lock-box in Shaw’s possession, and with his help, and with Sarah’s help, our boy has succeeded. So what’s in the box? The answer is, information, that was acquired by an agent, who lost her life in the process. He opens it with cryptic words: “With this, we might stand a chance that one of out best won’t have died in vain.” There is also a small envelope, containing a wedding ring. And as Shaw explains that the agent’s name was Evelyn Shaw, Eve, Sarah explains that she went to Lisbon, off grid, to the place where she and her first partner shared their first mission, in order to scatter his ashes. No, this was not about Chuck and Sarah, this was about Sarah and Shaw, and about their trust. It’s important to know that now, Shaw trusts her.
Shaw: We both made the same mistake, Sarah. We fell in love with spies.
Now it’s about Chuck and Sarah.
One small problem, though. Hannah’s followed Chuck back to Burbank.