Let Me Ask You Something
What do you do when you see your girlfriend do something so horrific…
…it gets permanently burned into your brain?
I know exactly what you mean.
After being traumatized and lied to, some people, like Chuck, are just not capable of answering the question “What do you want?”.
Think that’s bad? Others, like Sarah, don’t even seem to be aware of the damage that their lie has caused.
The Third Dimension
Much like me, Chuck has a pretty rich fantasy life.
Sarah: Chuck, wake up!
Chuck: Sarah, what are you – What are you doing here? Oh – okay, uh – Sarah.
Sarah: Yes, Chuck?
Chuck: This is a dream.
Sarah: No, it isn’t.
Chuck: (laughs) Come on. Who are we kidding here, huh?
This is – this is clearly my – my subconscious at work. And on behalf of my conscious self, I’d – I’d like to apologize. I’m normally much more respectful of women, even in my dreams.
It’s just that, you know, anxiety and fear can really, um, ahem, affect your dream life.
Sarah: And what are you afraid of?
Chuck: I watched you kill that Fulcrum agent in cold blood.
Sarah, I am not like you, okay? I might have these government secrets in my brain, but that does not make me a real spy.
I need to tell you this in reality, not in my dream.
Sarah: Chuck? This isn’t a dream.
Chuck: Then, what is it?
Sarah: It’s a nightmare.
Hum… too real. Isn’t it?
Casey’s ready to argue about what Chuck thinks he knows for real, and so is Sarah.
Chuck: You know what, Casey? You’re wrong about Tyler. He’s actually a pretty good guy.
Casey: He’s an idiot, Bartowski. Just like you. I should never have left you alone.
Sarah: You know, Chuck, Casey is right. You could have gotten yourself killed. What exactly were you thinking?
Chuck: What was I thinking? I’ll tell you what I was thinking.
I was thinking like I wasn’t a spy, okay? I was trying to have a little bit of fun. I knew the second I called you two it would be over.
Sarah: But Chuck, you ARE a spy. And you should know better than to put yourself in a dangerous situation where I can’t protect you.
Chuck: Is it really so wrong for me to want a night off? I was having a really good time, too, until the assassins stole my pants and tried to kill me. I’ve earned it! I deserve it! (Casey tranqs Chuck.)
I’m looshinggg conschhhousnesssss.
The scene ends with Sarah yelling at Casey like he’s a bad dog.
Casey: What? My ears couldn’t take it.
It was either that, or shoot him.
Casey cocks his gun for emphasis.
Oh, cute. Chuck is being whiny, though. But what’s happening here, isn’t that either Chuck is wrong, or that Casey and Sarah are wrong. It’s not that kind of world. It’s about whether or not Chuck can get used to the way things are. And it’s not like it’s unimportant. It’s that Casey and Sarah have more pressing concerns than just Chuck’s immediate level of comfort.
Chuck: No, guys. This is way too dangerous. Tyler could get killed.
Casey: Those are nightmares tattooed on his body, Chuck. We have to take Gambir down tonight.
Chuck: Okay. Okay, fine, fine. You go in there and tell him he has to put his life on the line because he was a pawn in someone else’s game.
Sarah: He won’t listen to us.
Chuck: So you want ME to do it? No! Absolutely not!
Casey: What do you mean, ‘no’? We have orders.
Sarah: Chuck, what is the matter with you? This is more than about taking a night off.
Chuck:Maybe. Um, I – you know. I’m a little off my game right now. I’m not really sleeping. I don’t wanna get into it.
Sarah: Chuck, lives are on the line right now, and if Tyler doesn’t help us then he will never be free of those people. And if you don’t help us, then Akmed Gambir gets away.
Casey: And the world becomes a more dangerous place.
Sarah: I don’t know what happened to you, but this is our job – not only to protect Tyler, but the country and anybody else who needs protecting. And we do whatever it takes, no matter what.
Did you forget that?
Chuck: That I definitely didn’t forget.
His nerves are frazzled, he doesn’t like what he’s asked to do, and Chuck most definitely doesn’t like this view of his future. Sarah or no Sarah, this is not what he signed up for.
Despite it all, Chuck’s not a quitter; his reserves are deep. In spite of his qualms he decides to take a pretty large leap of faith and talk to Tyler about risking everything.
Chuck: Hey man. You okay?
Tyler Martin: No. No, I’m not ‘okay’.
I don’t know where I am, how I got here, and someone is trying to kill me.
On the plus side, your friend’s tranqs are out of this world.
Chuck: Yeah, it’s one of his few good qualities.
Tyler: I’ve never been in a situation like this before, life or death. Pretty much live my life avoiding anything this real.
Chuck: It takes some getting used to.
Tyler: What do you want me to do?
Chuck: We would like for you to perform tonight at your special concert.
Tyler: That’s madness! People are trying to kill me.
Chuck: Yes. And you can help us catch them. You can help the world, the entire world, by doing this for real.
You can go back to living your life again. One night of bravery, for an entire life of normalcy.
I can’t even tell you what I’d give for that.
Tyler: (sighs) How do I know I can trust them, your people?
Chuck: Because I do. They’re the best. I stake my life on it every day.
Tyler said that this thing Chuck wants him to do is “real”. Not normal, perhaps. But real.
At the fountain, It’s not Chuck who says he’s learned a lesson, but Tyler. He thanks Chuck for teaching him something – to put people ahead of himself and see the bigger picture. But now that’s done and taken care of. Sarah has time to consider more personal things, something we might uncharitably call “the little picture”. It’s pretty important, too.
Sarah: You did a great job, Chuck.
Sarah: Look. If – if there is something bothering you, then please tell me. I know part of your job is to have all these secrets in your head. But you’re not supposed to keep them from me.
Chuck: Yeah, I know. I know.
I saw you shoot that Fulcrum agent on Christmas Eve, after they took over the Buy More.
And when I asked you about it…
Sarah: I lied.
Sarah: Chuck, I have to protect you.
Chuck: I know that. I – I…
I know that you do. And you were protecting me. You were protecting all of us. He threatened my family, my friends, and you were just doing your job. I get that, but…
Sarah, the guy was unarmed and you just…
Sarah: I did what I had to do.
He knew who you really were. Your whole family was in danger.
And I am sorry. Sometimes I forget that you never asked for all of this.
Chuck: There’s parts I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to.
Sarah: Well, you deserve a break, so take tonight, tomorrow, uh, whatever you need, it’s yours.
Chuck: Seriously? Really?
Sarah: Yeah. No missions, no cameras, no Casey, no thermal-satellite surveillance.
And no me.
Chuck: You guys use satellites?
Sarah: Yeah. And Chuck, when you’re ready again, we’ll be here waiting.
The truth is, I didn’t find Sarah’s explanation very satisfying at the time. Today, maybe a little.
More to come.