Chuck is a spy now. He doesn’t feel like one.
After eleven weeks or so of taking steps forward to his goal and then stumbling back all that distance and more, he’s not exactly feeling confident. And to be honest, I didn’t either. It’s exactly what he signed up for, and it feels exactly wrong. General Beckman knows Chuck is a special case, but doesn’t like the idea of treating him different from any other world-class spy. What’s wrong with going to Rome to spend some time (and money) posing as a millionaire playboy anyway? Chuck should be asking himself that question instead of baulking at it.
Chuck: Sarah, I want you to go with me.
Sarah: Chuck, I can’t.
Chuck: No. Beckman says I can choose my own team. Creme of the crop. That’s you!
Sarah: I’m going to Washington, okay? I’m going with Shaw.
Chuck: Wait a minute. Wasn’t this this plan? There’s nothing stopping us from being together now. I passed my spy test.
Sarah: That’s why I can’t be with you, okay? You’re NOT the same guy that I fell for.
Chuck: How? Why?? – because I’m an agent now? How am I NOT the same guy?
Sarah: You killed somebody, Chuck. I saw you kill the mole!
Chuck: Sarah – I know what you think you saw on the train tracks, but it’s not that simple. It’s more complicated than that. It’s not what you think and I need you to believe me.
Sarah: I don’t.
Simple, direct and honest. All these weeks of watching Chuck become a great spy, all these weeks of Morgan coming into his own, and Casey being supportive, and raising the flags at Iwo Jima, and Devon and Hugo and Rafe and … it’s been all for nothing. There was only one important issue; nothing else seems to matter. His name is Daniel Shaw, of course, and even I – me, the last one standing – was ready to call it quits.
Casey: There goes our chance to get out of the Buy More.
Morgan: Really? Is that what they teach you in the marine corps?
Morgan: Roll over and die?
Casey: This isn’t exactly combat, Morgan.
Morgan: That’s where you’re wrong, Casey. Because love – love is a battle field.
I was feeling pretty beat up by this time, so I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t listening to Morgan. All I saw was Sarah smiling at Shaw and getting all comfortable with him on a date. I saw red.
You probably caught my rant before. What’s happened to Sarah? Oh, we know. Chuck burned Manoosh. And he lied to his own sister and to Morgan, and for a mission, he became an assassin, so realistically like Rafe it was spooky. And that was murder she saw in his eyes when he took the Laudinol.
Then he shot the mole. No role, no drug. Just the mission.
Just like Sarah shot Mauser, Chuck shot the mole. And she can’t forgive him. What’s the difference? Well, for one thing, forgiveness is easy when your ignorant of the sin. It’s a lot harder when you know. Sarah is giving up on Chuck. She’s much more concerned with Shaw and what seems to be a suicidal mission.
Sarah: Are you trying to get yourself killed?!
Shaw: You’re asking if I’d trade my life for the man who killed my wife? I would.
Sarah: Well, what if I don’t let you?
Won’t LET him??? Who is this character? Why does she care so much for this “type”, and not for the guy who’s begging her to go to Rome to start a new life? Read those lines with rising anger, because that’s the way I wrote them.
No, wait. That’s not the way the story went. That’s not the way it was at all. It’s not that Chuck is just like Sarah, making the same mistakes she did. And really, it’s not even that Sarah’s treating Chuck unfairly because she did something similar. Not at all. You see Chuck has been off pursuing his dreams. And Sarah was trying to prevent him from making a mistake she’s all too familiar with. That’s all. How did things get so bad between them?
Everything Chuck and Sarah did and everything they wanted only increased their separation. Even in season 1 there was already an ocean of violence between them, and now, sadly, there’s even more. When Chuck shot the mole, he didn’t commit Sarah’s sin; he committed his own. And what’s come between them isn’t that Sarah doesn’t love him, or that Chuck had to remain an innocent in her eyes. It’s not even that Sarah loves anyone else. What’s come between them is that Chuck’s sin is in addition to Sarah’s. It’s separated them that much more, and it is sad.
Sadder still, there was never a chance that it could have been any different, not once Chuck re-intersected and realized he had this dream. It was Chuck who chose to walk down this path.
I said above that forgiveness is easy when you’re ignorant of the sin, so yes, Chuck could forgive Sarah Mauser. It’s a lot harder when you really know what’s been going on, like Sarah does. Forgiving yourself is the hardest thing of all. All he has to do is come back. All she has to do is ask. It seems so simple, but he can’t, and she can’t.
I missed and had forgotten so much of Season 3; Sarah sing-songing “Thank you!” to Casey’s “I stand corrected.”, and Morgan poking the fallen Ring agent ewok-like with his stick. I missed entirely how much Sarah had been begging Chuck every way she could to not be hypnotized by the false glamor at the end of his journey. It seems now that, in every episode, Sarah wanted to ask him to come back from this adventure, and yes, she wanted to ask him to give up his dreams. Oh, she tried! That was Prague. That was a mistake, she thought. Sarah could not do that again, ask Chuck to give up his dream for hers. Better to go through life numb. Didn’t we, the fans, ask if this was about the journey or the destination? We did, and Sarah votes here. Sarah despairs at Chuck’s particular destination. Chuck’s almost reached it, though, and Sarah seems to give up on him ever coming back from so great a distance.
Even when she gave up, even when I gave up, you can hear echoes of Sarah pleading as Chuck seems to call from very far away.
Sarah: Chuck? What are you doing here?
Chuck: I’m here for you.
Sarah: What do you want me to say?
Chuck: I want you to say that you’ll come with me to Rome.
Sarah: You know that I can’t, and you know why.
Chuck: Look, Sarah. I don’t want to have to make a scene in front of all these people, but I will literally do anything to change your mind.
Sarah: (angry) Well then tell me what really happened at the train tracks. If you didn’t kill the mole, then who did?
Chuck: Look – I don’t want there to be any secrets to last between us ever again. But please. Let me have just one. And I promise I will never lie to you.
I know that you think I’m not the same guy you met that first day at the Buy More. And you know what? You’re right. That guy I was back then hated himself for not knowing what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, or who he wanted to spend it with. But now, finally, now I know, I want to be a spy and I want to be with you.
Sarah: What are you saying?
Chuck: Sarah, I’m saying that I –
Are you saying that you love Sarah, or are you saying that you’re going to Rome, Chuck? Sarah’s not giving up so much as she is defeated, a feeling I understand. And Chuck would hate himself if he gave up on his dream. And Shaw? To Sarah, Shaw may be the spy-master who “destroyed Chuck in order to save him” and made Sarah put the gun in Chuck’s hand. But spy that he is, Shaw at least knows the score. He’s working the same turf that Sarah is working. He knows that in this game, you don’t give it all away; it’s always temporary. He’s safe. He’s – temporary.
He’s temporary? Yes. Oh.
Daniel Shaw goes off to play the American hero and Sarah can’t stop him. She couldn’t stop Chuck from wanting to play that game either. One super spy is just like any other after all. Wait. That’s not right. One of these super spies is different. You can see it when the “flash-bang” goes off and one of them clears his head just a second before the ring agent does. No flash necessary. You can hear it in Chuck’s speech in the restaurant, because you know that he was going to end with I love you, Sarah Walker, before being interrupted. And you can see it in Sarah’s smile when one of them comes from the exploding building carrying an unconscious, defeated, and now demented – Shaw.
But you’re being silly if you think for a minute that Chuck being that guy once again is what this episode is all about. It is about Chuck ending the journey he’s been on.
Chuck: Since I’ve already given the fancy, eloquent version of this speech before, right now I’m just gonna be blunt and honest. I love you.
One more time because it feels really nice to say – I love you. I feel like I’ve been bottling this up forever. I. Love. You.
Sarah: Chuck, you know you don’t have to…
Chuck: I’m sorry – I’m sorry. I’m getting out of hand. But – look – you were right in Prague. You and I were perfect for each other and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, away from everyone else and away from the spy life.
Sarah: Chuck – I’ve made a commitment, and not just to Shaw.
Chuck: Don’t go! Don’t do it! Leave with me instead. Tonight at 7 o’clock, Union Station. We go to Mexico, and after that, anywhere you want. I would, however, like to go and see the Eiffel Tower at some point, if at all possible…
Don’t answer now. Don’t say a word – I don’t want to have to convince you. I just want you to show up.
Sarah was right, in Prague. After all that, and after all we went through, Sarah was right. Did you hold your breath, wondering if that was going to be enough? I didn’t. I didn’t even see what was on the screen, the first time through. I saw Sarah packing, and was certain she was packing for Washington, not Mexico. I’m grateful my cynicism didn’t last much longer, and that I was wrong.
If Casey’s little confession didn’t close the book on season 3, then Sarah’s joyful smile did.
Casey: I just wanted to come by and tell you something about Bartowski.
Sarah: Well, if you came to plead his case, then that’s really not necessary.
Casey: He didn’t send me. He doesn’t know I’m here. I just wanted to tell you something in case it changed anything.
He didn’t kill the mole.
Casey: I did. He didn’t have the stones to pull the trigger. The kid’s not a killer. He’s just not wired that way. Not like us.
Thought you should know. See ya around.
Sarah: (turning) Casey? Thank you!
Casey: Have a nice life, Walker.
Once Sarah threw the gun on her bed we knew. Season 3, and maybe even Chuck as we know it, was about to end.
A week ago when reviewing The Three Words I said that we, the audience and fans, were standing in Sarah’s shoes. Throughout the season we’ve heard the same words that were written in newsgroups and even in this blog spoken by the actors in ways that made some of us laugh, and made some of us angry. But it was no accident, and we were not hearing things. The writers and creators of Chuck were talking to us, just like Chuck was talking to Sarah and were being asked to accept that he, they, had to go on this adventure no matter how Sarah, we, tried to warn him or tempt him to come back. Chuck did it for the right reasons, and he did it for her. He did come back to tell Sarah that she was right all along, right about Prague, and that they should have gone off together. Chuck came back, changed, but the same. It was always a gamble, a big one against severe odds, taken for the sake of love.
The episode ends with Chuck waiting for Sarah at the tracks. She’s not coming, but it’s because of one, last, dire threat. It’s not Chuck who’s the fraud after all.