One Man’s Opinion
Wow! Great episode. And I have absolutely no idea how I feel about it.
Levi was incredible throughout, not only being “Mr. Nice-guy”, best friend to Morgan, Devon and to Casey, best brother to Ellie and best “Chuck” to Sarah, he was also “The Spy”. Beyond Charles Carmichael, Zac Levi showed us a Chuck who’s become frighteningly effective, the perfect spy. And frightening is the right word. That wasn’t concern Sarah had for him; that was fear about what she saw he could do. For a moment, Chuck was out of control, and only Sarah could have – would have – pulled him back from the brink.
The fight scenes were tremendous. I did the martial arts some time ago. I don’t train these days, but it’s hard to forget that stuff. The kinaesthetics, the body motion, becomes so second nature it becomes part of you. Seldom have I seen “the arts” so well portrayed on television, and (I’ll get some debate on this) you have to go to Bruce Lee to see better in the movies. No, not one person lifting another single-handedly by the neck; that’s not realistic, just fearsome. But the fight choreography. That was excellent.
Watching Sarah question Chuck’s willingness to risk prison to save Casey’s butt was absolutely enjoyable. “It this what you want?”. When he says yes, her look of satisfaction (“I was hoping you’d say that.”) was as heart warming a moment as any I’ve seen in season 3. Watching Chuck partner with Sarah has been as satisfying as hearing them have a real conversations in previous seasons. Recall how much Sarah was a “fantasy girl” in Operation Awesome, as she partnered with Chuck as a nurse with a knockout punch? Tell me. How far was that, really, from Chuck’s terror at the beginning of Lethal Weapon, when Sarah is sleeping next to him, but the alarm wakes them to Blitzen Trapper’s God and Suicide? The only difference is that Chuck didn’t pull the blanket up to his chin. But this time they are fully equals.
To Partner. That’s a new verb, (I partner, you partner, he/she/it partners) and it’s an increasingly important part of the C&S relationship. Now, after more than half of season 3 has been aired, that part has become as important as the experiences they’ve shared, because it’s expressed in actions, not words. For Chuck and Sarah, it’s almost always about what they do, more than what they say.
And Agent Walker the effective spy is back. Maybe because she was not under the influence of Shaw in this episode, Sarah was ready, and for the first time in a long time able to tactically support Casey when he needed it. And speaking of kicking butt, her fight scene against 5 Ring agents was also superb. Watching Sarah being effective (and also, being comical) was a joy. The scenes of Sarah and Chuck handling the diminutive CIA security expert were hilarious, and certainly an effective hook for newbies, if there are any left to hook. There’s one difference, though, and it’s a big one. Sarah is not stone cold the way she was when we met her; it’s no longer her default setting, and she doesn’t revert to that when she’s under stress any longer. In every scene she shows her emotions – for Shaw, for Casey, for Devon, for Morgan and for Chuck. The only person getting none of her concern is the security expert who stands in their way.
General Beckman has not always been kind to Team Bartowski, but I love her. If she’s a baddie, she’s the best one around. Let’s call Diane the poster-child for matronly tough love.
Casey’s story in Tic Tac took the most air time, but I don’t think it was exactly central. What was more important was the decision he made at the end, like he did 20 or so years earlier, to choose duty over his first love, the rest was exposition. As important as that decision was to Chuck, it carried only equal weight to Ellie’s decision to choose her love for Devon over her “childhood” dream (and by the way, has any child in recorded history really wanted to join Médecins Sans Frontières? I think that’s an aspiration reserved for somewhat more mature people). Their two decisions were meant to emphasize the one that Chuck is facing. We can only guess which he will choose; we are not permitted to know from the story-line. We can’t even tell which way he is leaning at the moment.
What I don’t know, is if Chuck will even get the chance to choose to be with Sarah. She may not let him, or at least, we’re not supposed to know in the story-line if she will. And that is why I can’t say how I feel about this episode. After all that’s happened, Sarah is still unclear about her own feelings about Chuck? For the first time, I felt myself seriously losing patience with her dithering; it’s gone on too long (yes, yes, I know. “Welcome to the dark side, Joe.”) Maybe those who have not watched the first two years have a different reaction (actually, they must). But those of us who watched Sarah tell Chuck dozens of times that he can have anything he want (“It’s yours.”) and who watched her rise to his defence against Ellie, Casey, Generals, Pita Girls, Fem Fatales and baddies of all stripes again and again, those of us who saw her reactions to his near-death-experiences, victories and defeats, this has hit the point of frustration for even the most patient fan. For the first time even I (Mr. “Glass-is-half-full”) saw that there are more great stories to be told with Chuck and Sarah comfortably together than there are left with them still in this “Will They?/Won’t They?” mode. And make no mistake, despite my confidence that they’ll get out of that, WT/WT was precisely where I saw them at the end of Tic Tac.
[Joe taps his foot in frustration.] I trust that this is a last, dying gasp of that. Right, Josh? Right, Chris?
Okay. That’s as audacious and demanding as I get. The Powers That Be gave us great entertainment last night, and the more hours pass, the more fun the episode seems. I’m looking forward to finding 43 minutes to watch it again.